Quotes on: Paul Scholes

I’m willing to wager that there are not too many footballers out there who are as unequivocally and universally admired within the footballing community as Paul Scholes. It’s quite ironic, in a way, that so many people have had so much to say about the man who became known for quietly getting on with his job, and shying away from the limelight. But the fact that the Ginger Assassin preferred to do the talking with his feet right up until his retirement has left his legions of fans with innumerable memories of raking cross-field passes, thunderous volleys from distance, and the odd X-rated tackle. And hushed conversations about his footballing feats have by no means been restricted to his awestruck fans, with some of the greatest in the history of the game voicing their admiration for the diminutive midfielder. And so, without further ado, let’s take a look at what the likes of Pele, Socrates and Sir Alex Ferguson have had to say about Paul Scholes.

Before we begin poring over this collection of over 115 quotes, I’d like to point out that I’ve added a considerable number of quotes taken directly from Paul Scholes’ (rather excellent and perfect for repeated reads) autobiography “Scholes: My Story”, a copy of which I am proud to own. I’ve given due credit to the source where necessary, and would like to reiterate the complete lack of any intention to violate copyrights agreements; the entire purpose of this venture — the collection of quotes about great footballers — is to give fans access to as many quotes as possible, all under the same roof, if you will.


“When I came to United, he was a kid back then, played in the youth team, but he was a striker. But you could see there was something very special about him. His technique was incredible. [ . . . ] He’s retired, come back, and actually improved the team! Scholes’ passes, of any kind of distance, 1 yard, 40 yards, they were always accurate.” Peter Schmeichel

“People say he is a great player, but you have to define what a great player is. For me, it is a player who has a bottom level that means his worst performance is not noticed. If he is having a bad game, a teammate might feel Paul Scholes is not quite on his game, but a spectator wouldn’t notice. Scholes, of all the players I have played with, has the highest bottom level. He has an eye for a pass, for what the play or the game needs at that precise moment, that I have never seen anyone else have. These days he doesn’t get into the box too many times, which is where you can see his age, but he has developed tactically. He controls and distributes the play and the game better than anyone I have ever seen.” — Peter Schmeichel

“Scholesy was a striker when I came to the club, but obviously not being big or tall, he was struggling a little bit in the air – especially when you have players like David Beckham or Ryan Giggs who could cross a ball like they could. He very quickly dropped into midfield, started to create a position for himself. He was in between a central midfield player and a striker. He learned to defend, he physically had the ability to run box-to-box all game, but his skill obviously was the way he was with the ball. His dribbling was fantastic, his short passing, little creative passes around people, the physical strength he acquired, the shooting ability. But most of all the ability to change the game from one side to the other, within a split-second, which would open up teams and in turn would make other teams think about how many people they can commit forward. He’s had a fantastic career and what he’s done is unbelievable.” — Peter Schmeichel

“Butty used to call Scholes ‘The Ghost’. After a game, you’d turn round and he’d just be gone. It was like he could walk through walls. He really wasn’t one for the limelight, Scholesy.” — Andy Cole

“When you look back you talk about legends of the game, he’s certainly up there. Twenty trophies since 1994. He just seems to get better and better. I’ve had the honour of playing alongside him. The four years I’ve played alongside him, he is the best player, one of the first names on the manager’s teamsheet. He is just a complete legend. There are not enough players like Paul Scholes around any more for my liking. ‘Legend’ is over-used but this guy is right up there with the very best.” — Dwight Yorke

“The senior pros — Robson, Bruce, Schmeichel, McClair — always used to watch the third team, which was then the A team, and Scholes was playing. Robson turns to the manager and says, ‘Who are you keeping, who are you letting go?’ and he obviously said, ‘We’re keeping Beckham, Butt, Neville, this lad, this lad, this lad’s going, and we’re not sure about the little red-head in midfield.’ Then Scholesy gets the ball on the edge of the box, fakes to shoot and drags it, defender slides past him, fakes to shoot again and drags it, and another midfielder slides past him, shuffles between the two centre-halves, fakes to shoot, keeper goes down onto one knee and Scholesy scoops it and dinks it into the bottom corner. And Robson turns to the manager and went, ‘Are you sure you know what you’re talking about?'” — Lee Sharpe

“Paul Scholes is without a shadow of doubt, one of the finest players to pull on a United shirt. You ask any of the players who played alongside him at international level or for United and they’ll tell you that he’s a fantastic player. He’s got that uncanny knack of scoring fantastic goals at important times. If you asked any of the best players to name the best midfielders of the last 15 years, they’d all put Paul Scholes at the very top of the list. He’s a wonderful creative midfield player, he can pick a pass, and although tackling isn’t his strong suit, he’s a very intelligent, goal-scoring midfielder.” — Gary Pallister

“He is a legend and he’s going to be remembered for a long time. Just to play alongside him and learn from him has been an absolute pleasure. I think he is a footballer’s footballer; he has been at this level for so long. As long as he is part of us we always feel we have a chance. We appreciate the way he goes about his business. I have never met a character like Scholesy; certainly not someone who is that good.” — Michael Carrick

“Paul Scholes is just fantastic. When you play alongside him, you realise what a special talent he is.” — Michael Carrick

“When I was in Dutch and Italian football, a lot of people looked at Manchester United, and when they were asked who was the best player, a lot of them said Paul Scholes. Much of what he did looked simple, but actually it was quite hard. Invariably he controlled the ball instantly and passed it straight on, keeping the game moving. He made inch-perfect passes across the pitch; he saw the gaps and could play the ball through them. So it didn’t surprise me that so many top-class international footballers recognized his quality.” Edwin van der Sar (quoted from Scholes’ autobiography “Scholes: My Story”)

“A small guy with an unbelievable desire to play the right ball, and his technique in playing the ball, the weight of the ball, the pace of the ball, were superb.” — Edwin van der Sar

“Paul Scholes was the coolest guy, coming into training in jeans and hoodies. He had strong family values, that was all that interested him. They would ask him to do interviews and he would just turn around and say “yeah, I don’t want to do it.” He could have been a normal guy in the bar, such values for family life, and yet he was one of the very greatest players in the world.” — Ruud van Nistelrooy

“He’s the best I’ve played with and against. He’s only small but it’s so difficult to get the ball off him.” Wayne Rooney

“The best I’ve played with, no question. His touch, passing, vision, composure is outstanding. I try to copy him.” — Wayne Rooney

“For me, Scholesy’s the best footballer England has produced in my time. The way he controlled games, passed the ball, saw things that other players didn’t see; it was a pleasure to play with him and United were lucky to have him for so long.” — Wayne Rooney (quoted from Scholes’ autobiography “Scholes: My Story”)

“To me, Paul Scholes was in a class of his own.” — Wayne Rooney (quoted from Scholes’ autobiography “Scholes: My Story”)

Always on the move, always looking to make things happen. Five passes ahead of everyone.
Always on the move, always looking to make things happen. Five passes ahead of everyone.

“An amazingly gifted player who remained an unaffected human being.” Roy Keane

“We won’t ever see another one like Paul Scholes. He is a legend and a real benchmark. He is not interested in the modern-day footballer’s life off the pitch, but he is a world-class player on it” — Darren Fletcher

“For me as a midfielder, Paul Scholes was the best possible teacher. When people ask me my hardest opponent, I always refer to Paul in training. Facing him improved me so much because his astonishing quality gave me something to aim for. He never gave the ball away, he could nutmeg you, he could make you look a fool, his range of passing was remarkable, his touch and awareness, everything was top notch. Seeing Scholesy made you stand back and realize you had a long way to go, because he was awesome.” — Darren Fletcher (quoted from Scholes’ autobiography “Scholes: My Story”)

“Paul Scholes was Gianfranco Zola and Keane in one. He could produce magic in attack and score goals. He was very good technically, had a superb passing range and was a very good finisher. Even though he was small, he was strong in the tackle. As the English say, he was as hard as nails.” — Mikael Silvestre

“He was one of the most underestimated players in the world when he played, and I always said that if there was one player who could play easily in Barcelona, with the small possession and small spaces, it was Paul Scholes. [ . . . ] If you see him play, it looks so easy. We all like to have that type of player in central midfield; you can always play him in, and he can create a two-against-one somewhere else on the pitch, and eventually you get to the attackers to create chances.” — Jaap Stam

“I tell anyone who asks me – Scholes is the best English player.” — Laurent Blanc

“Scholes is the best English player. Intelligence, technique, strength… all the attributes are there. At Manchester United I saw what he could do on the training field.” — Laurent Blanc

“Nobody else in the world can play the way Scholes does. The passes he produces all over the field and the way he changes the game is brilliant. Every manager would like him. But luckily he is here and playing with us. Paul practices that all the time. When he has finished training he always goes out and shoots.” — Dimitar Berbatov

Paul Scholes lining up a trademark 50-yard cross-field pass. A sight for sore eyes, and one that will be spoken of at Old Trafford for generations.
Paul Scholes lining up a trademark 50-yard cross-field pass. A sight for sore eyes, and one that will be spoken of at Old Trafford for generations.

“Paul, for me, is the best player in the England team. It worries teams. Speak to any other international team and they will single Paul out as England’s key player. For me, he doesn’t get the full credit that he deserves. He is a world-class player and deserves to be up there with the likes of Zidane and Figo.” — Phil Neville

“Of course, he was an unbelievable footballer, one of the best midfielders I’ve ever seen, and so humble with it. I don’t think he knew how good he was himself. [ . . . ] After I left United, sometimes I’d watch a match and then tell him he’d played like a genius; that he’d given a clinic on how the game should be played. [ . . . ] He has one of the best football brains ever; he’s a student of the game and he knows it inside out.” — Phil Neville (quoted from Scholes’ autobiography “Scholes: My Story”)

“Scholes is the best I’ve played with and he helped me a lot when I was young. He’s amazing.” Cristiano Ronaldo

“You’ve got a kid who’s smaller than most, he’s got asthma, he’s not the quickest, but (he was) the best player I’ve ever played with.” Gary Neville

“I wouldn’t swap Paul Scholes for anybody. He is quite simply the most complete footballer I have ever played with. He is the best.” — Gary Neville

“The best illustration I can give of his talent is that at Manchester United there was always a possession drill in training designed to develop our passing ability, which might be three players against another three players, or six versus six, or nine versus nine. But no matter what the numbers were, the side with Paul Scholes on their team would always win by keeping the most possession.” — Gary Neville

“Paul is absolutely the most talented footballer I’ve ever played with and I consider myself blessed to have been his teammate. It’s not just me who rates him so highly. People like Zidane, Xavi, Vieira, Petit, Davids, they’ve all said Paul is the best they’ve faced, and they’re the people who should know. Every day for the last fifteen or twenty years we have played possession football in training, and you can bet your life that if Paul is on your team you’ll win the session. He controls the entire routine, the tempo of the whole exercise. It’s as though he has eyes in the back of his head because he knows where everybody is all the time. He has a level of intelligence on the football pitch which I don’t think I’ve ever seen in anyone else — and I’ve seen a few.” — Gary Neville (quoted from Scholes’ autobiography “Scholes: My Story”)

“Best player? For me, it’s Paul Scholes. He’ll do ridiculous things in training like say, “You see that tree over there?” – it’ll be 40 yards away – “I’m going to hit it”. And he’ll do it. Everyone at the club considers him the best.” Rio Ferdinand

“I could never get bored talking about him, he was my favourite player. I loved watching him because he did everything you’d want to see in a footballer. He could dictate the pace of a game; he could take it by the scruff of the neck and control it; he could score decisive goals; he could make the killer pass; he could switch the play, open teams up, slow the game down, quicken it up; whatever was needed. He would take the ball anywhere on the pitch [ . . . ] He was such a selfless footballer, too [ . . . ] Scholesy was the man, all right.” — Rio Ferdinand (quoted from Scholes’ autobiography “Scholes: My Story”)

“He’s not the quickest, he doesn’t run the most, he never wins a header, he can’t tackle but he’s the best player.” — Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

“In my opinion he’s up there with the top three or four players to play for United.” — Nicky Butt

“He’s the best midfielder I’ve ever seen. He can pass, score goals with his left, right, his head – he can do anything. And he can beat a player too, plus he loves to nutmeg you! He’s unbelievable.” — Nani

“I’d go for Scholesy as the club’s greatest ever player. I’ve seen him do things that no other player can do. The way he can control the tempo of games, and his range of passing, are both incredible. We’ve seen over the years that players just haven’t been able to get near him. And you can’t forget his goals either.” Ryan Giggs

“Scholesy was a player who could do anything. Whatever team he was on in training would win, whether it was a small-sided game or possession, he would control the tempo of the game and the possession. He was just a brilliant player.” — Ryan Giggs

“Quite simply the most talented player I’ve ever played with. [ . . . ] He dictated the tempo of the game, and hardly ever gave the ball away, whether it be a five-yard pass or a thirty-yard pass.” — Ryan Giggs

“He’s always one of those people others talk about. Even playing at Real Madrid, the players always say to me ‘what’s he like’? They respect him as a footballer and see him as the ultimate.” David Beckham

“Paul Scholes was always unbelievably talented. Quiet. And dirty. When he got his tackle right, it was a great tackle. But when he got it wrong, he could kill someone. He was so talented and a player I feel honoured to have played with.” — David Beckham

“[ . . . ] he was one of the best players in training every day. We gave him the nickname “the silent assassin” as he is a quiet person but, boy, could he make himself heard when he tackled. [ . . . ] Paul was an incredible professional and so dedicated. [ . . . ] It was an honor to play with him.” — David Beckham (quoted from Scholes’ autobiography “Scholes: My Story”)

“Nobody on this planet had a range of passing like Paul Scholes. Training every day was a pleasure just watching him. Unbelievable career.” — Michael Owen

“Scholesy was a genius, absolute genius. He was a center-forward’s dream, you could make a run and he’d put the ball perfectly in your path. [ . . . ] Any footballer you ask will always tell you that Scholesy was one of the best players they’ve ever played with.” — Michael Owen

“For me, Paul Scholes is on the same level as Ronaldo. The real Ronaldo, not Cristiano. I always thought he was a great player but after I played alongside him I realised he was Manchester United’s greatest player of all time. He did his talking on the pitch which I respected most.” — Fabien Barthez

Managers & coaching staff

“Scholes was probably the best English midfielder since Bobby Charlton. [ . . . ] He was such a brilliant long passer that he could choose a hair on the head of any team-mate answering the call of nature at our training ground. Gary Neville once thought he had found refuge in a bush, but Scholesy found him from 40 yeards. He inflicted a similar long-range missile strike, once, on Peter Schmeichel, and was chased round the training ground for his impertinence. Scholesy would have made a first class-sniper.” Sir Alex Ferguson

“I think Paul Scholes is the best player in England. He’s got the best skills, the best brain. No one can match him. There isn’t a player of his mould anywhere in the world. Paul is irreplaceable.” — Sir Alex Ferguson


“Funnily enough we have never had one enquiry for Paul Scholes. You know why? Because they all know he will never leave. At United, you can go back to the Best, Law and Charlton era, before that you have Duncan Edwards. You are talking a wide panorama of players. But in my time he would be in the top six or seven (best United players ever) without a doubt. His contribution and quality have been great, even without the fantastic goals he has scored. [ . . . ] He has that wonderful velvet touch on the ball. When he gets it, it goes stone dead. It is wonderful to see that amidst all the mayhem that can happen in a football match.” — Sir Alex Ferguson

“One of the greatest football brains Manchester United has ever had.” — Sir Alex Ferguson

“Paul is one in a million.” — Sir Alex Ferguson (quoted from Scholes’ autobiography “Scholes: My Story”)

“Paul Scholes would have been one of my first choices for putting together a great team — that goes to show how highly I have always rated him. An all-round midfielder who possesses quality and character in abundance.” — Marcello Lippi

“Out of everyone at Manchester United, I would pick out Scholes, he is the best midfielder of his generation. I would had loved to play alongside him.” Pep Guardiola

“He’s the best player in Britain in my opinion [ . . . ]. I cannot pay Paul a bigger compliment than to say that he’s the most complete footballer in the country. The best bar none.” — Steve Bruce

“There was never any question about Scholesy’s quality as a footballer. He was known as the little ginger magician in the youth team. Some reckon he’s the best United player of the modern era, and there’s a case for saying that. You don’t hear him blowing his own trumpet, though — he just gets on with his job. He’s the real deal.” — Steve Bruce (quoted from Scholes’ autobiography “Scholes: My Story”)

“He did not get completely what he deserves as a player because he’s not a media lion. He’s not one who runs after the media to be in the papers. I respect that.” — Arsene Wenger

“Why isn’t he playing for England? It is crazy. Only in England. Scholes is a great, great player. So experienced and still, for me, one of the best in the world in midfield. Manchester United are lucky to have him.” Jose Mourinho

“Playing with Paul Scholes is like playing with the light on.” — Carlos Queiroz

“Paul Scholes had the best football brain I’d ever seen in a kid. Let’s face it. Paul Scholes is in a class of his own.” — Brian Kidd

“Paul always had fantastic technical ability — his awareness, touch, range of passing were remarkable. He played as though he had eyes in the back of his head. [ . . . ] No wonder Zinedine Zidane is among his admirers — and for someone of that stature to wax lyrical about Paul speaks volumes.” — Brian Kidd (quoted from Scholes’ autobiography “Scholes: My Story”)

“Everything he does is absolutely functional.” — Rene Meulensteen

“Paul Scholes has been the best England midfield player for 30 odd years. You’d probably have to go back to Bobby Charlton to find someone who could do as much as Scholes. When the ball arrives at his feet he could tell you where every player on that pitch is at that moment. His awareness is superb.” — Gordon Strachan

“When he passes the ball it stays passed. The ball goes exactly where he wants it to. I have always loved him for that. I played against him once or twice and he is an absolute genius. He is a role model for anyone who wants to play football. He is a joy to watch. In fact, I wish he was 21, then I could see his career all over again.” — Ian Holloway

“He’s the best one- or two-touch passer in the country. He sees the game unlike any other player.” — Terry Venables

“He had a great football brain and a superb work ethic [ . . . ] He was so inventive, and he had an eye for a goal, which was priceless. I’d give him ten out of ten for everything except his tackling, and nobody is brilliant at everything.” — Kevin Keegan (quoted from Scholes’ autobiography “Scholes: My Story”)

“There isn’t a player of his mould anywhere in the world.” — Glenn Hoddle

“Paul Scholes was the jewel in the crown, the first name on the teamsheet and unquestionably one of the finest England players of the age. He flourished at once in the international arena, which didn’t surprise me given his fabulous all-round attributes. He had almost everything — talent, intelligence, courage. His only blemish, which he never really shook off, was his tackling. There was always the chance of that red mist coming down. Overall, though, Paul was a wonderful player and he’s a lovely lad, a credit to his club and to himself.” — Glenn Hoddle (quoted from Scholes’ autobiography “Scholes: My Story”)

“Off the field, Paul appears quite shy, but on it he’s like a conductor, the leader of his orchestra. He lets his passing do the talking and he’s a dream to watch.” — Wilf McGuinness (quoted from Scholes’ autobiography “Scholes: My Story”)

“Scholes was England’s best football player. It was impossible to take the ball from him, and he never mishit a pass.” Sven-Goran Erikkson

“He was magnificent; very clever with outstanding technique. He could pass the ball over five yards or fifty; he could see things to set up other people; he could shoot and he could score goals. If you gave me Paul Scholes and ten others, I would be happy. I would tell them to give him the ball and then we would have a good team.” — Sven-Goran Erikkson (quoted from Scholes’ autobiography “Scholes: My Story”)

“Scholes was playing tiki-taka football when nobody in England knew what it was. He was another of those players, like Denis Law or Bobby Moore, who at 15 probably looked as if he wouldn’t make it. Too small, you would think — can’t run, dumpy little ginger nut — but then the ball would come to him and he would dazzle you. He was the best footballer in that Manchester United midfield, better than Ryan Giggs and Roy Keane.” — Harry Redknapp

Other players & opponents


“My toughest opponent? Scholes of Manchester. He is the complete midfielder.”Zinedine Zidane

“It’s only natural to want to select your best players and there is no doubt for me that Paul Scholes is still in a class of his own. He’s almost untouchable in what he does. I never tire of watching him play.” — Zinedine Zidane

“You rarely come across the complete footballer, but Scholes is as close to it as you can get.” — Zinedine Zidane

“One of my regrets is that the opportunity to play alongside him never presented itself during my career.” — Zinedine Zidane

“He was an extremely tough opponent to play against. You didn’t get any time on the ball when he was around. He would close you down and make your life terribly uncomfortable. He is the type of player you want on your side, not in opposition because he could do so much damage. He is very gifted. He makes the game look easy because he’s got so much natural ability.” — Zinedine Zidane

“Just a maestro, even now. It’s like he’s got wing mirrors: he knows where the space is, where opponents are, where the ball goes.” — Jamie Redknapp (2011)

“For me he was the best English midfielder of all time.” — Jack Wilshere

“If he was playing with me, I would have scored so many more.” — Pele

“He’s the master.” Dennis Bergkamp

“I played with Scholes from about 16 with England. He was a top player then and all the way through. He was Manchester United through and through. I think he gets into a lot of teams and was one of the best midfielders, who didn’t really get the recognition he deserved in terms of the media.” — Sol Campbell

“I’m star-struck when I see Paul Scholes because you never see him. On the pitch you can’t catch him. Off the pitch he disappears.” — Luis Figo

“I’m not the best, Paul Scholes is.” — Edgar Davids

“Everyone of us should emulate him. We can all learn from Paul Scholes.” — Edgar Davids

“Every one of us are just trying to become as good as him.” — Edgar Davids

“For me, he was one of the best midfielders in the world and in history. It’s never easy in a big team, and he didn’t score a lot of goals, but he organised the team fantastically. When a side has good midfielders with quality, it’s easier for the attackers.” — Deco

“I think, because he was a different type of player to all other types of English midfielder, Paul Scholes was the best player that I saw playing for an English midfield and one of the best players in the world.” — Deco

“In the last 15 to 20 years the best central midfielder that I have seen – the most complete – is Scholes. I have spoken with Xabi Alonso about this many times. Scholes is a spectacular player who has everything. He can play the final pass, he can score, he is strong, he never gets knocked off the ball and he doesn’t give possession away. If he had been Spanish then maybe he would have been valued more.” Xavi

“Maybe one small regret is that I never got to play with Paul Scholes – but I was never going to leave Barcelona and he was never going to leave Manchester United.” — Xavi

“I would loved to have played with Scholes. He plays the game the way it should be played and at his peak he was the best midfield player in the world.” — Xavi

“One of the best players in the history of football.” — Juan Mata

“United always had many amazing players, but whenever we faced them we were always, always, always scared of what Paul Scholes could do. Ask anyone from that old Arsenal team, they will tell you the same. If you let him play, he can kill you, and for me he was so underrated. The way he plays: one touch, arriving late into the box, the way he strikes the ball, his vision, his passing. Incredible. I know people used to give him some stick for his tackling, but I liked that. He put his foot in, showed some character, had a go, but I liked that about him too. For me he is one of the best midfielders I have ever seen.” Thierry Henry

“I can’t understand why Scholes has never won the player of the year award. He should have won it long ago. Maybe it’s because he doesn’t seek the limelight like some of the other ‘stars’.” — Thierry Henry

“Without any doubt the best player in the Premiership has to be Scholes. He knows how to do everything, and he is one who directs the way his team plays. On top of that, he has indestructible mental strength and he is a genuine competitor.” — Thierry Henry

“He was just ahead in his head. He made Manchester United tick. Every time we were playing them we needed to find a way to stop him.” — Thierry Henry

“I don’t think people have given him the credit he deserves. (He’s) one of the best, if not the best, I’ve played against, he could do anything. Unfortunately for him, when he was playing for the national team, for England, sometimes people didn’t see it like that.” — Thierry Henry

“If I had a Paul Scholes in my team, everything would be around him. At Manchester United, they saw it like that, but I think Paul Scholes is one of the best I’ve played against in this league, and seen anywhere.” — Thierry Henry

“Scholesy is one of my favourite players of all time. He was a great professional who had everything and I used to love playing with him. You could give him the ball in any position, he would take one touch and you would know exactly what the next move would be. [ . . . ] He was magical, pure class.” Paul Gascoigne (quoted from Scholes’ autobiography “Scholes: My Story”)

“Paul Scholes is great, very intelligent, very clever and you could never really kick him!” — Stefan Effenberg

“The best English player I played against without any doubt. When you are a top-class player, especially in midfield, you need to be good on the ball, physically strong, you need to know how to play the game, but you also need to be a little nasty, and I think Paul had everything to be one of the very best.” — Gus Poyet

“He is the one whose level I aspire to. He is the best player in the Premier League.” — Cesc Fabregas

“At La Masia his name was mentioned a lot. He’s a teacher.” Lionel Messi

“I really rate Paul Scholes, because he hasn’t got the high profile of many of the Manchester United players, he doesn’t get too much attention, but he is one very good player. He is an intelligent player, he works hard and he scores some great goals. He is not flamboyant and is a quiet lad off the pitch but he is a tremendous asset to Manchester United and to England. He has already got my vote as player of the year.” Tony Adams

As Manchester United's greatest ever midfielder, Sir Bobby Charlton knows a fellow great when he sees one.
As Manchester United’s greatest ever midfielder, Sir Bobby Charlton knows a fellow great when he sees one.

“I love watching little Paul Scholes, he’s so in control of what he’s doing and is always so accurate and pinpoint with his passing – it’s just beautiful to watch.” Sir Bobby Charlton

“I have no hesitation in putting a name to the embodiment of all that I think is best about football. It’s Paul Scholes. [ . . . ] in so many ways Scholes is my favourite. I love his nous and conviction that he will find a way to win, to make the killer pass or produce the decisive volley. When a game reaches a vital phase, these qualities seem to come out of his every pore. He’s always on the ball, always turning on goal. He’s always looking to bring other people into the action and if he loses possession you think he must be ill.” — Sir Bobby Charlton

“Paul Scholes is my favourite player. He epitomises the spirit of Manchester United and everything that is good about football.” — Sir Bobby Charlton

“During our active careers, we met a few times on the pitch. I always looked with admiration to his intelligent movement and powerful shooting from long range. Also, his technical skills and accurate passing were remarkable. He is a true legend.” — Mark van Bommel

“What a player Paul is. Everything about him is just perfect.” — Paddy Crerand

“I think we were all disappointed because we all know what he can do. He’s always in the right position, always seems to be at the end of the box when the ball drops in. The complete midfielder – when he’s fit, he’s the best. Some go missing but he’s in the right place at the right time. He’s my favourite player of all-time, unbelievable. If you give him a chance it’s a goal, isn’t it?” — Micah Richards

He is the phenomenon.” Ronaldo (Luis Nazario de Lima)

“I am a big admirer of Paul Scholes, he is one of the best players of his generation.” — Arjen Robben

“I’ve still got Paul Scholes’ shirt at home which I swapped with him once. When I was at Liverpool he was one of the players I liked most. Maybe he’s not valued as much as he should be in England because of the style of football there and because he keeps a low profile. Perhaps he would have been more valued in Spain, where midfielders like him form part of the ‘ideal.’ Fans in Spain rate him very highly and I admire him a huge amount.” — Xabi Alonso

“He is one of the top three to five players to have ever played in the Premier League – his passing, movement and technique set examples to everyone, not just younger players.” — Alan Hansen

“The greatest compliment I can pay Paul Scholes is that he reminds me of Bryan Robson, the way he bombs into the box.” — Ray Wilkins

“I just love Paul Scholes. He’s been the best footballer in our division for the last ten years. He’s a a wonderful player.” — Ray Wilkins

“His technique is unique.” Diego Maradona

“At Arsenal me and Patrick (Vieira) didn’t want to face Scholes. We would avoid him.” — Emmanuel Petit

“I’m more an admirer of Paul Scholes than I am of Ronaldo. Ronaldo is a fantastic player, but he has 10 other great players around him every week…Scholes is one of the most complete footballers I’ve ever seen. His one-touch play is phenomenal. Whenever I have played against him, I never felt I could get close to him.” — Eidur Gudjohnsen

” [ . . . ] best I’ve ever played against by a mile.” — Joey Barton

Two of the greatest of their generation lock horns. A certain Ronaldinho looks on, hoping to learn a lesson or two from Scholes on how to pass the ball like him.
Two of the greatest of their generation lock horns. A certain Ronaldinho looks on, hoping to learn a lesson or two from Scholes on how to pass the ball like him.

“The truly great English midfield player of the generation. Didn’t just play the game, he thought about the game. You could see every pass, every decision, was based on his intelligence and understanding.” — Andrea Pirlo

“The only great English midfielder in my career was Paul Scholes. He has elegance in him. Others were pretenders.” — Andrea Pirlo

“I want to pass like him. Who taught him how to do that?” Ronaldinho

“If you ask footballers to pick out the player they most admire, so many of them will pick Paul Scholes. His passing and shooting is of the highest level and he’s the most consistent and naturally gifted player we’ve had for a long, long time.” Alan Shearer

“For me, Paul Scholes has been the best midfield player in the Premier League. By a mile. He has the lot. He scores and creates goals, he can pass the ball, he can head it, and rounds all this off with a competitive streak.” — Alan Shearer

“He had a great shot on him, and an ability to get into the box on the end of things. He was a great attacking midfielder. He was tougher than people thought he was, he wasn’t afraid to leave his foot in, and could look after himself.” — Alan Shearer

“I have heard people say over the years that you have to play with him to appreciate how good he was and he was very good. Like Gazza, he could do most things with a football, he was this sort of silent assassin. He could put his foot in and leave his foot in but he could score goals like all three of the midfielders. He played on at such a high level, at a top club, and achieved great things.” — Alan Shearer

“Good enough to play for Brazil. I love to watch Scholes, to see him pass, the boy with the red hair and the red shirt.” — Socrates

“One of the best players I’ve ever seen in my life! Spectacular on training! Playing with him was a joy!” — Gerard Pique

“I think that there have been some outstanding players (in the Premier League era), especially some foreign players who have come in like Eric Cantona. Obviously he didn’t quite have the same impact at Leeds as he did at Manchester United. Then there was Gianfranco Zola, Dennis Bergkamp… but there is only one player for me, and that’s Paul Scholes”. — Gary McAllister

“I remember when I played against Paul Scholes, from Manchester. And because he is a midfielder, and I am a midfielder, sometimes we would have to confront each other. He is not tall, he is not strong but he is clever. This is very difficult. To play against someone who is clever. And he was fantastic with the ball, clever how he passed the ball, clever how he would see you. That was interesting to talk about afterwards.” — Edu Gaspar

Scholes will be remembered as one of his generation's greatest, and one of United's best ever players. Legend.
Scholes will be remembered as one of his generation’s greatest, and one of United’s best ever players. Legend.

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