Paul Scholes comes on in dramatic return
MANCHESTER - Reuters
Manchester United’s Paul Scholes applauds the fans after defeating Manchester City in a FA Cup match. AP photoFormer England midfielder Paul Scholes came out of retirement and played for Manchester United in its FA Cup third round tie at Manchester City yesterday after signing a short-term deal until the end of the season.
The 37-year-old, who retired at the end of last season, replaced Nani after 59 minutes of the match with Manchester United winning 3-1 at the time.
He was surprisingly named among the substitutes for yesterday’s match following a succession of injury problems United has suffered this season, with central midfielders Tom Cleverley, Darren Fletcher and Anderson ruled out for large chunks of the campaign.
Manager Alex Ferguson told the United website: “It’s fantastic that Paul has made this decision. It’s always sad to see great players end their careers, but especially so when they do it early."
“But he has kept himself in great shape and I always felt that he had another season in him. It’s terrific to have him back.”
Scholes played 676 matches for United between 1994 and 2011, scoring 150 goals and helping the club win two Champions Leagues, 10 Premier League titles and three FA Cups.
“I’ve been pretty clear since I stopped playing that I miss it,” he said. “I’m delighted the manager feels I can still make a contribution to the team and I’m looking forward to playing my part in trying to bring more success to this great club.”
Scholes played 66 times for England before retiring from internationals in 2004 to extend his club career.
Michael Carrick and Ryan Giggs have been the only fit and experienced central midfielders available to Ferguson in recent weeks.
Carrick has also been forced to play in defense and United has lost its last two Premier League matches, falling three points behind City at the top of the table.
Scholes was sent off in the FA Cup semifinal against Manchester City at Wembley in April which United lost 1-0.
His last appearance was as a late substitute in the 3-1 Champions League final defeat by Barcelona at Wembley in May.