Paul Scholes has been a bit of fresh air as far as ex-player pundits are concerned. When his fellow colleagues are busy in stating obvious, with his in depth knowledge and no nonsense approach Scholsey stands head and shoulder ahead of most of them.
Everyone is pleasantly surprised but it makes you wonder what took him so long? Better late than never though, Scholsey has been vocal about United’s supposed inactivity in transfer dealings. In his latest article for The Independent, he talks about possibility of United entering mediocrity just like their North-West neighbours did in the 90’s. Some of the extracts from his article are as mentioned below: “I am scared for United. Genuinely scared that they could go into the wilderness in the same way that Liverpool did in the 1990s.
I realise that it is just 15 months since United won the league for the 20th time in the club’s history. I know that it is still the most commercially successful club in the country. It has the biggest stadium in the Premier League, and the biggest match-day revenue. But ultimately all a club’s success and standing are built on the foundations of what happens on the pitch.”He addresses the weakness in the team as the lack of world class midfielders and lack of pace. “United’s forwards are as good as any team in the league. The problem is what comes behind them.” “When United play at home, they need to have players that have the pace and ability to go past opponents and lift the crowd. The club have always had them in their best years: Ryan Giggs, Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, even Carlos Tevez. Antonio Valencia provided it, certainly in his early time there.” About the players he would want at the club “My five would be: Xabi Alonso, Sami Khedira, Raphaël Varane, Angel Di Maria and Mats Hummels.”
He is concerned about Jones/Smalling and has reservations about Louis Van Gaal’s 3-5-2 system “In the 3-5-2 system, Jones and Smalling never looked solid. Jones is another one of those for whom the question of “potential” comes up. He is 22 now and has been a United player for three years. I don’t feel that he senses danger in the way that a centre-half should do. I would prefer him to play at right-back, or in midfield.” “As for Chris Smalling, he just looked exposed in the 3-5-2 formation. There were times when Wilfried Bony seemed to get the better of him physically. Neither Jones nor Smalling are great talkers on the pitch.” Well, it’s fair to say Scholes is a very good observer. The midfield lacks quality. Fletcher after the illness has never been the same. After 2 great seasons, Carrick was so awful for the first time in his career. Fellaini despite being unplayable at times for Everton when we faced him, doesn’t look like a player who can control games from the midfield. He stood out for Everton when he played higher up the pitch but holds no chance at United with Rooney, Mata and Kagawa fighting it out.
Herrera is very exciting prospect but he will some time to adjust. Cleverley needs to prove his worth and Anderson well, is just Anderson. He is also right about the lack of pace in the team. Well, partly right. Though Kagawa, Mata, RVP and co are not the fastest but Rooney, Danny, Adnan, Tony V can be lightening quick (Tony was voted as the fastest and Rooney as 7th fastest player in the world by FIFA). But yes, I get his point when he talks about players who can lift the crowd. But couple of things I don’t really agree with him though. We have lost 3 world class defenders in Rio, Vidic, Evra and we have to strengthen the defence. But why lose hope on Jones and Smalling? They both have been hampered with injuries. They both are playing out of their preferred positions and they need a consistent run of games in the team. Evans looks the most mature of the lot (and IMO one of the best in the league) but he always had an advantage of partnering either of Rio/Vida on various occasions if you get my point. Now after a successful world cup, Rojo is here. We are still chasing Benatia and Blackett, despite his mistake for 2nd goal in the opening game, looks solid.
Yes, we are not as good as we were couple seasons back and defenders will take some time to adjust. But defence is definitely not as bad as it is usually suggested. Scholsey is right in expecting Ed Woodward to deliver but he or any other former player (except Evra and King Eric) have never spoken their mind about Glazers. Scholsey, despite hitting nail on the head, fails to acknowledge the most fundamental problem at United. Glazers are ripping our club off. If we can see it, how can Scholsey not? What is holding him back? Chance of uniting with the club? I hope not. We expect him to go ‘no-holds-barred’. Well, we want him to.
Supporters will always love him. But whether or not he acts like ‘one of us’, only time will tell. We’ll never die!