Is Sir Alex’s Decision To Bring Back Scholes A Backward Step?

The re-registration of Paul Scholes as a Premier League player with the Champions in mid-season raises a number of questions for fans of the club that started out the season as Barcelona’s closest challengers in Europe only to tumble out of the Champions League and the Carling Cup, ravaged by injuries and loss of form of key players.

Is this a step forward or backwards for United?

Paul is a legend, he will always be that bundle of energy that drove into the box, or powered shots in from 25 yards. The worst tackler I have seen in midfield he covered the post at corners and seconds later was attacking the oppositions box. A shy off-field persona belying the tenacious red-headed powerhouse for Club and Country.

But his early retirement from England duty and his regrets from the World Cup together with his tiring performances last season where early form gave way to laboured performances where he gave the ball away too much and couldn’t get to the places his head said his legs should be, made me agree that the time had come to call it a day.

Like Gary Neville showed at Stoke and at West Brom, the one game to many embarrasses the legend and like a punch drunk boxer the time has to be called.

Is Scholes that faded player and will this move tarnish his legend?

Only Sir Alex Ferguson will have seen those sprint times, have measured his stamina and will know how he will use the little genius.

So time will tell.

The immediate impact will be in the homes of players like Anderson, Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley, Paul Pogba and Ravel Morrison.

This year they have seen Sir prefer Park Ji-Sung, Ryan Giggs and Phil Jones to them in midfield and now a fading favourite comes and takes a place above them after our cup exits.

Maybe Sir Alex looks at Scholsey as a Thursday night player, helping Pogba and Morrison to get their legs for the first team? That might be a good idea.

But when Scholes played with Carrick then Carrick didnt play well at all. He is subservient and so backs away from responsibility when his senior is alongside.

Anderson and Cleverley must be the immediate future so will wonder if this is a vote of no-confidence. Sir needs to watch the reaction. Pogba is rumoured to want more money or new pastures, this may hasten both.

All in all it’s hard to write a piece without using the word desperate.

Trying to buy Frank Lampard looks like a Larry White moment, which I thought was a disaster for a once great player. I am on about Laurent Blanc if you haven’t caught on!

I recall him getting roasted at Middlesboro and would hate Scholes to be a weaker Lampard replacement. It smells like poverty and desperation when we need more.

However, our exit from Europe’s elite competition makes us wholly unattractive to top players this season, and unless we secure our place for next season then we won’t rebuild the team.

Sir knows we need to hold a top 4 place, to get some cash injected and then to build again next summer.

If Scholes is a small brick in that greater wall then maybe it will be a stroke of genius.

Worst case scenario is that the bizarre formations, with players out of position and form, in big games, shows that Sir Alex thinks he needs to try to be a genius every day . He is infallible and this season his attitude towards the media and the team selection has proved that more than ever.

If Scholes plays, he must get used in a formation that works for him and us.

For me that’s 4-5-1 with him as what is known here as a check back striker, a sort of attacking midfielder who doesn’t have to get back to cover. Maybe he can play 30 minutes a game in that position in the Europa League, FA Cup or League games we have secured by roughly the hour-mark against mid grade opposition.

If that adds up to 20 games this season then maybe this will work but if Sir thinks this will save the team, then it will end in tears.

Whatever the outcome, welcome back Paul, I wish you well.

By Steve Burrows CBE @ifollowsteve

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