Sir Alex Ferguson: Replacing Scholes is going to be 'very difficult' for Manchester United

Red Devils manager has hailed the impact the veteran midfielder has had on the team since coming out of retirement, but says it will be a tall order to find a worthy successor

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson says replacing Paul Scholes is going to be "very, very difficult" for the club.

Scholes returned to the Red Devils' playing staff in January after initially retiring at the end of the 2010-11 season, and showed he'd lost none of his talent, producing some excellent performances as United pushed rivals Manchester City all the way in the title race.

And Sir Alex has hailed the impact Scholes has had on the team, but insists that it will be a tall order to replace such a gifted midfielder.

"A year ago, he was coaching my Reserves team," Sir Alex told the club's official website. "Now he's back playing and everybody attached to United is absolutely delighted because he's such a fantastic player.

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"In the long term, trying to replace Paul is a different issue all together. It's going to be very, very difficult. To replace a great player like that would be hard for anyone."

Centre-back Rio Ferdinand believes that to come back after so long and perform at the standard the veteran midfielder did is a testament to his character, and a great example for all the young players to aspire to.

Ferdinand added: "'Sat Nav' Scholes has it all – it's a great opportunity for the young players to learn from someone who has honed his craft for years and can still do it at the top level.

"To think he had a period out and can still come back and play is phenomenal. He's a shining light for all the players to look up to. Long may he continue playing!"