Paul Scholes (born November 16, 1974, in Salford, Greater
Manchester) is an English football player who has spent his
whole career at Manchester United.
With his distinctive head of ginger hair (he is sometimes
referred to as "The Ginger Prince") Paul Scholes has been one of
the most influential players at Manchester United for the last
decade and a key component in United's success during this
period. He is an attacking midfielder par excellence. He scores
vital goals at vital times, and he times his runs into the box
as well as any midfielder playing the game today. Scholes has
often been described as the most natural finisher at United
during his time there, but he also possesses a thunderous shot
that has led to many spectaclular long-range goals. United fans
frequently sing (to the tune of Kumbaya) "Paul Scholes, he
scores goals" during matches. He is also known for his extremely
erratic tackling. This dubious facet of his game has seen him
booked and occasionally sent off in numerous important matches,
as he invariably plays the man and not the ball.
Salford-born Scholes joined Manchester United as a trainee on
leaving school in the summer of 1991 and in his first season
guided the club to victory in the F.A. Youth Cup. He did not
make his breakthrough into the Old Trafford team until the
1994-95 season, when he made 17 league appearances and scored
five goals. The 20-year-old Scholes proved himself to be a
promising understudy for the likes of Eric Cantona and Andy Cole.
In the F.A. Cup final he twice came close to scoring goals which
would have seen United and not Everton win the F.A. Cup.
Scholes was unable to secure a regular first team place until
the 1997-98 season, when he played in midfield after the ninth
game when Roy Keane was ruled out by injury. He had already made
his England debut the previous summer in a 2-1 friendly win over
South Africa at Old Trafford, and was part of the England squad
for the 1998 World Cup.
In 1998-99, Scholes was a key player in Manchester United's
Premiership title, F.A. Cup and UEFA Champions League "Treble"
success. He scored one of United's two goals against Newcastle
in the F.A. Cup final but was ruled out of the Champions League
final victory over Bayern Munich through suspension, brought
about by a yellow card received in the semi-final away tie
against Juventus. He also managed a hat-trick for England in a
game against Poland.
Since then, Paul Scholes has established himself as an excellent
midfielder at both club and international levels but announced
his retirement from international football in August 2004,
stating that club football was of the utmost priority and that
he vowed to excel with the team that had seen the highs and lows
of English football with him, though part of the reason could
have been him being asked to play on the left for England during
Euro 2004, which was not suited to his free-flowing, passing and
penetrating game. England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson revealed
that he repeatedly tried to coax Scholes out of international
retirement but was rebuffed each time. Most observers now agree
he has been one of the most exciting midfielders in the modern
game. He is also considered as one of the greatest midfielders
of all time for England and Manchester United by many. He has
averaged double digits in goals scored per season for his whole
career and is well equipped in his heading too, despite being
only 1.7m tall.
In ten years as a first team player at Manchester United, Paul
Scholes has won six Premiership titles, three F.A. Cups, the
European Cup and the Inter-Continental Cup, amongst many other
He has been ruled out for the rest of the current season with
unexplained blurred vision.