Scholes return delights Charlton

Scholes return delights Charlton

Published Jan. 15, 2012 1:15 p.m. ET

If Scholes' retirement U-turn last week at the age of 37 was remarkable, that he should score on his return to Sir Alex Ferguson's starting line-up in Saturday's 3-0 win over Bolton was truly amazing.

After all, the midfielder only found the net once last season, when he made 33 appearances.

But, in a period where it seems the clock is being turned back with old favourites gracing the Premier League stage once more, Charlton believes Scholes' comeback could turn out to be crucial.

"I have been more upbeat since I heard about Paul Scholes returning to the squad," he told United Review.


"It is one of the best pieces of news I have ever had.

"He is a sensational footballer and we are very lucky to have him.

"Maybe the one thing Sir Alex (Ferguson) had given a bit of thought to was that we needed a creative player in midfield.

"Suddenly there is a knock on the door and it is Paul Scholes saying he wants to play again.

"Alex must have thought it was Christmas all over again."

Ferguson has detected some negativity to Scholes' return from the media.

In a few quarters this is true, yet even those who are delighted to see the former England man back wearing the number 22 shirt he first adorned as a young player breaking through the ranks, accept it is a sticking plaster move until a more longer-term central midfield option is found.

And, in any case, what do opinions in the press matter when those Scholes is performing alongside welcome his presence without reservation.

"Scholesy is a dinosaur," said Patrice Evra.

"The boss said that about him, Giggsy, (Gary) Neville and (Edwin) van der Sar.

"Scholesy should never stop. Now the manager gave a gift to us. because it looked like he never stopped.

"I am so happy he is back. We need a player like that if we want to win the league."

Typically, despite his goalscoring feats and the general interest surrounding his return to United duty, Scholes has steered clear of offering a public opinion, even to his team-mates.

"Someone just asked me if he had said anything about his goal," said Michael Carrick. "I said 'you don't know Scholesy'."

Carrick has more reason than most to be thankful for Scholes' presence as it will take some weight off him in central midfield.

However, the 30-year-old is in his best form of the season, scoring a peach of a goal with a left-footed curling strike to wrap up victory after Danny Welbeck had doubled United's lead.

It meant United could afford a generally disappointing performance from Wayne Rooney, who missed a penalty and what appeared to be a simple second half chance on a day when little went right for the England star.

"The missed penalty upset Wayne," conceded Ferguson, whose team ended a run of successive Premier League defeats to move level on points with Manchester City, who travel to Wigan on Monday.

But for all Scholes' massive impact, the real man of the match should have been Antonio Valencia, who after a period as stand-in right-back is now doing what he does best, terrorising defenders from his wing station.

"It was like he had a motor," said Evra. "He was unbelievable.

"The left-back of Bolton must have a muscle problem after the game because Antonio was so powerful. It is great to see he is back."

With Arsenal to face next week and Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham also amongst their next six opponents, more will be known about United's chances of retaining the championship by March 3, by which time they will also have entered the Europa League for the first time and been to Anfield for that powderkeg FA Cup fourth round tie.

For now though, they are happy to train their focus on City.

"Maybe there is a bit of pressure on them," said Carrick.

"They have had an indifferent couple of weeks.

"In terms of the title, it is not a big week because there is so far to go but I suppose we will see how they deal with it."