Date:21st April 2011 at 3:00am
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Reading John Cross’ piece on Scholes tarnishing his reputation, I couldn’t help but chuckle. The writer is the latest in a line of journalists to chide Scholes for what happened in Saturday’s game but I sense a slight over reaction.

Much has been made of the challenge he made on Paulo Zabaleta on Saturday that saw him red carded and I will be the first to say that his late studs up challenge on the Man City defender was quite nasty.

Paul Scholes has always had, for want of a better phrase, a ‘cheeky streak’. For his brilliance he has always been capable of a moment of madness, take his handball against Zenit St. Petersburg in the super cup for instance.

Paul Scholes wouldn’t be Paul Scholes without it as the flame haired midfielder often flashes a cheeky grin after a naughty but tactical foul thus the notion that Paul Scholes is on the way to tarnishing his legacy because of these fouls is ridiculous.

Rival fans are often heard complaining that Scholes is a dirty player and I can see what point Cross was trying to make but it is a mute one, Paul Scholes’ legacy is secure and has been for a long long time because the people that matter have already ensured his place amongst the greats.

I don’t need to reel off the list of players and managers in the game who have and continue to sing Scholes’ praise despite his time in the game running down and yet they appear irrelevant to a man who gets shy when you compliment him. He has the confidence of his manager who is still attempting to get him to sign on for one more year and following his red card last Saturday brushed off the situation saying:

‘It has happened and we live with it because he has given us some great moments in his career.’

And he still has the backing of United fans who won’t look back on his career and say ‘Paul Scholes cost us the FA Cup semi final in 2011’ but are more likely to say ‘Do you remember Scholes’ goal against Barca in the Champions League semi in 08′ or ‘Do you remember that goal against…’ or even ‘Do you remember when Scholes ran that game against…’.

Paul Scholes for me has been massively under rated for large parts of his career. From his technical ability to his goal scoring he has never got the credit he deserves. It took Xavi singing his praise and stating that in Spain he would be revered for the few remaining morons who hadn’t jumped on his bandwagon in his twilight years to take notice.

So if it has taken so long and for him to reach this stage of his career before people began to pay him anywhere near the kind of respect he deserves do you really think he will care that now these same fickle people are saying he is tarnishing a reputation that they had no idea existed?

From what I have seen of Scholes the person I doubt it!

United were poor for large parts of that City game and the red card topped it off but to blame Paul Scholes for the defeat should draw ridicule. As it is often said there is a thin line between genius and crazy, Paul Scholes walks this line but more often than not leans towards genius. In the FA Cup tie against Arsenal he displayed both facets of his character and using that game as an example, people won’t say that he fouled Nasri and could have been sent off, rather they will say that volleyed inch perfect pass to Rooney is something only he and few others could pull off.

As the season dwindles away it increasingly looks like Scholes will call it a day so instead of berating his faults why not appreciate his finer points?