We all knew the Golden Generation at Old Trafford would come to an end sometime and with Paul Scholes announcing that this coming season is likely to be his last that’s one more player down.
We’ve all known Scholes would retire soon and it was a massive possibility with the eye injury he picked up during the 05-06 season, yet since then no replacement has been sought or found to step into the ginger wizards boots.
A player like Paul Scholes is near irreplaceable, anyone in the know in terms of football will tell you the quiet, unassuming midfielder is one of the most technically gifted players this country has ever produced. I don’t need to bang on about his passing, shooting and goal scoring feats. Zinidine Zidane, a player considered one of the finest to ever play the game, declared that Scholes is/was the”greatest midfielder of his generation” and he wouldn’t be wrong.
Even in his twilight years Scholes is still putting on masterclasses, dictating play from a deeper position than normal yet still popping up with the odd goal here and there, so is this why a greater effort hasn’t been made to replace him?
We’ve been in this situation before and paid the price heavily.
Peter Schmeichel left Old Trafford following the Champions League victory in 1999 but many, myself included, feel that he wasn’t properly replaced until 2005 when we signed Edwin van der Sar from Fulham, some 6 years later. In that 6 years the lack of a clear #1 disrupted our efforts as we had to put up with a number of pretenders including Fabien Barthez and Massimo Taibi.
The same can be said for Roy Keane, who was clearly ready to pass his torch on to a younger pair of legs before he left the club by mutual consent in 2005. The difference between Keane and Schmeichel is in some opinions Keane has yet to be replaced. Hargreaves was ear marked as his replacement but injury and the fact that when he was fit he seemed more effective on the right as either a full back of winger curtailed that.
As I said a player with Paul Scholes’ talents isn’t easy to replace. There are very few players that could hold a candle to a prime Paul Scholes and only a slightly larger number that can do so now. The fact we have been given a years notice to replace him should force the club to free up some funds.
I have said before losing Giggs, Neville and Scholes would be a huge blow but losing them all at once would be even worse. It’s only now that it’s starting to dawn on me how massive a job it is that we face in replacing them. Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville have people ready to step up in the likes of Gabriel Obertan, Nani and Rafael but nobody has stood up and thrown their hat in the ring to be named Scholes’ heir.
Darron Gibson and Anderson have both been mentioned but there are still some questions to be raised about them whilst Magnus Eikrem is yet to see proper first team action and Davide Petrucci has a while to go before he claims a first team spot.
There is the saying bad luck comes in threes and we have already experienced it twice with Schmeichel and Keane, we have a chance to buck this trend with Scholes lets hope Fergie seizes the opportunity to do so this summer.