Paul Scholes reveals details about retirement U-turn in 2012 | inside World Soccer


Paul Scholes reveals details about retirement U-turn in 2012

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Paul Scholes of Manchester United comes on as a substitute during the FA Cup Third Round match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on January 8, 2012 in Manchester, England
Photo: Laurence Griffiths/GETTY IMAGES

Manchester United legend Paul Scholes has lifted the lid on his return to the Premier League stage in 2012.

Scholes was 36 when he hung up his boots in 2011 and even had an Old Trafford testimonial to honour his 17 years of service to the club.

By the start of 2012, the former England international was coaching United's U-23 team at their Carrington base but felt he was still fit enough to continue playing.

Scholes then decided to give competitive football another go, with former teammate and Everton skipper Phil Neville trying to talk him into linking up with the Toffees.

Speaking to DAZN, the midfield maestro said:

I came back in September [2011] with Warren Joyce and the under 23s and I was training every day.

I felt as fit as I probably ever had done after having four months off - it was just the break I needed. I said to Joyce that I wanted to play again - I just wanted to play. Where it was I didn't care.

I didn't expect United to want me back. I spoke to Phil Neville and he said, "Come and play for Everton." I've never really wanted to play for anyone else or be involved with any other club but if that was the only option I had then I might have done it, I don't know.

Then-United manager Sir Alex Ferguson eventually paved the way for one of the greatest midfielders of his generation to rejoin the Red Devils' ranks.

The next step had to be Mike Phelan, the assistant manager. I must have spoken to him at 7.30 in the morning because I was so nervous the night before waiting to see what he thought and he thought it was a great idea.

Then there's one more person to get through which was the most important. As soon as I saw Mick I went to see the manager and told him I want to play again.

I said that I feel fit and I feel okay and [he said], "Do you want to play here or do you want to go somewhere else?" There's no way I wanted to go somewhere else. He said, "Right I'll sort your contract out," and that was within five minutes.

He was on the phone to David Gill and I think it was the next day I signed for another six months. And then you think, "What have I done?"

Scholes made his second United debut in an FA Cup clash with arch-rivals Manchester City in January 2012 in a pair of £40 boots from the local sports shop.

He brought me into the squad to play Man City in the FA Cup. He told me not to tell anybody and the players had absolutely no idea. My wife knew and I think I might have told my dad but nobody else knew.

We get to the ground on the Sunday and my kit is there. I actually couldn't get any boots. They couldn't know I was playing. If I'd asked for a real pair from Nike then they'd know something was going on. I went to the local JJB and I think they were £40 at the time, which I thought was quite expensive!

Scholes went on to play for another 18 months, retiring alongside Ferguson after winning his 11th Premier League title before stepping into football punditry, management and ownership.

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