17 September 2009

Paul Scholes urged not to retire next summer

Scholes has been one of Ferguson's greatest servants at Old Trafford but hinted in May that the 2009-10 campaign would be his last, with persistent injury problems taking their toll on the cultured midfielder.

Scholes, who will miss Sunday's Old Trafford derby against Manchester City through suspension following his dismissal at Tottenham last weekend, became the leading English goalscorer in Champions League history with the late header that sealed a 1-0 Group B victory over Besiktas in Istanbul on Tuesday.

Having retired from England duty at the age of just 29 in 2004 after winning 66 caps, Scholes's admission earlier this year that he expects this season to be his last should not be viewed as a tactic aimed at nudging United into offering a new contract to replace that which expires next June.

Ferguson has conceded in the past that Scholes's 'stubborn' nature ensures that the midfielder rarely performs about-turns on anything, let alone plans to retire.

But with his 35th birthday approaching in November, Ferguson insists that Scholes's early-season form is proof that the player's birth certificate is irrelevant. Ferguson said: "I don't think this is Paul's last season. Not with the way that he plays. He is not the type to burst in to the penalty box any more is he? "It's difficult to say [how long he can go on] because it's still only September, but I am seeing the fresh Scholesy and the best time to use Scholes is when he is fresh.

"He will not be playing the whole season, but that's why we have got a squad of players, and he will miss more than he plays. "But if I get 25 games out of him at the level we saw against Spurs last Saturday, I think we will be delighted with that."

Scholes's absence ensures that derby day is likely to be without a single Mancunian on either side and he admits to being frustrated by his controversial dismissal for two yellow cards against Spurs. He said: "I was disappointed at being sent off when I think most people could see it wasn't a second yellow card. "The derby is always a massive game, but after what has gone on there at City, it is probably a little bit bigger this year and it is also tight at the top of the league.
"So I am disappointed to miss it, especially as I was sent off when I shouldn't have been."

Both Scholes and Ryan Giggs, who turns 36 in November, must earn new contracts if they are to remain at Old Trafford beyond the end of this season, yet the pair remain key figures in Ferguson's plans.
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