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By ESPN Staff

Scholes predicts bright future

Paul Scholes believes Manchester United's bright young things are more than capable of retaining their Champions League title.

The former England midfielder claims they will only be stronger for the experience of lifting the trophy last season when Chelsea were defeated on penalties in Moscow.

With United also winning the Premier League for a second successive year, Scholes, 33, is energised by what the future may hold.

He is convinced that players like Cristiano Ronaldo (23), Wayne Rooney (22), Carlos Tevez (24), Anderson (20) and Nani (21) can only improve at Old Trafford.

Scholes said: 'It is an exciting time and a good time to be involved. The young players coming through are only going to be better next year for the experience they've had.

'Everyone who came in to the team last year played a massive part in our achievements. It is a big ask (retaining the Champions League) but I feel we can only go from strength to strength.'

Scholes is heartened by the way the young players apply themselves when they are severely tested.

He said: 'It is one thing having the talent and doing it in training every day but you have got to do it where it matters.

'Thankfully we have the players who can do that - young lads who do not seemed to be fazed by anything. They are very confident and look forward to the big games.

'Hopefully we can get off to a good start and a good finish by winning more trophies.'

Scholes, who feels Chelsea will again be their main challengers, dismissed his own contribution last season as 'okay'.

But one of his two goals in the campaign - a thunderbolt against Barcelona - propelled United into the Champions League final.

He said: 'I would have liked to have scored a lot more but sometimes it does not happen for you.'

However, such is the esteem in which Scholes is held, many people believe he could still do a job for England.

Scholes, though, appears happy in his international retirement - and feels Fabio Capello could just make a difference to the national side.

'I watched the European Championships and obviously it would have been good to see England there,' said Scholes. 'Hopefully though they will make it to the World Cup in two years' time. Capello is a very experienced man who has been all over the world coaching.

'He knows what it takes and hopefully England have the right man to take them to the World Cup and maybe get them a bit of success as well.'

Scholes is enjoying working in the winter sunshine in South Africa as United prepare for the new season.

He came off the bench last night in the 1-0 victory against Orlando Pirates in the Vodacom Challenge.

Scholes added: 'There are some good teams here and some decent players. It is a chance to get fit and get some match practice.

'They seem to love and appreciate their football in South Africa. You can see that in the crowds at games and hopefully we are pleasing them in some way.'

United play their final game in the tournament on Saturday in Pretoria where they will face either the Pirates or the Kaizer Chiefs, who meet on Thursday.

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