Gary Neville lauds 'best English player of his generation' Scholes

The Manchester United legend made his 700th appearance and scored in Saturday's win over Wigan at Old Trafford and the former captain has praised the impact he has had on the club
Former Manchester United right-back Gary Neville has saluted the career of Red Devils midfielder Paul Scholes after the 37-year-old made his 700th appearance for the club in Saturday's 4-0 win over Wigan Athletic.

Scholes has enjoyed a glittering career at Old Trafford and has won the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League as well as making 66 appearances for his country before retiring from international duty.

The playmaker retired at the beginning of last season but was enticed back into the United set-up by manager Sir Alex Ferguson in time to play a part in the second half of the 2011-12 campaign, and has not looked back since.

"He's a model performer for younger footballers to look to in how he plays on the pitch," Neville wrote in the Mail on Sunday.

"I would urge anyone who loves football, particularly if they have a child who wants to learn from professionals, to go along to watch him play in the flesh this season."

The influence that Scholes still has on the Manchester United team was highlighted against Southampton last weekend, as his introduction from the substitutes' bench helped Ferguson's team to a 3-2 victory.

"He had come on for just 30 minutes against Southampton but, in the words of Sir Alex Ferguson, he 'brought order to the game'," Neville continued. "That ability, for one player to be able to set the direction of a match and to control its tempo, is extraordinary.

"Paul Scholes is one of the very few in the world who can do it. I must have trained and played with him thousands of times and in every one of those training sessions and matches that’s what he was doing: bringing order to the game.

"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."

Scholes has joined an exclusive club at Old Trafford that includes Sir Bobby Charlton and Ryan Giggs in reaching the 700 appearance mark, and Neville believes that many of his teammates will declare that he is one the finest players to have played for 19-time league champions.

"There might be no knighthoods, no MBEs or OBEs, but every single team-mate will say he is the best they have ever played with," Neville opined.

"And every player he had played against, including Xavi and Zinedine Zidane, would say he is the best midfielder they have faced. Every fan or every club, no matter who they support, loves the way Paul Scholes plays.

"He's a private man, a family man, and those are the parts of his life he values most. He doesn't have an agent, he doesn't employ a PR guru and there are no celebrity mates.

"He's just a kid from Middleton who grew up playing football on the streets and achieved his dreams. He is certainly the best player I've ever played with and the best English player of his generation."