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Scholes considering retirement

Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes has revealed he is considering quitting the club at the end of the season, fearing he can no longer compete at the highest level.

While 36-year-old team-mate Ryan Giggs continues to be considered an integral part of Sir Alex Ferguson's side despite his age, Scholes has struggled for form of late amid concerns he may soon be surplus to requirements at Old Trafford.

And with the the emergence of Darren Fletcher, Anderson, Michael Carrick and Darron Gibson, Scholes - whose current deal expires at the end of this season - admits the end could be near.

"I wouldn't say I am playing some of my best football and I don't always feel I am making as much of a contribution as I would like," Scholes said. "I always preferred it when I was playing regularly and scoring a lot more goals. Now, it's different. I play once every two or three weeks and I can only hope to do well when I get the chance.

"I just have to be OK with that. I don't have a choice. Obviously, every player wants to play every week, but I know now it can't always happen. You do think about the future, but I'm not too sure. I'll just carry on with the way it's going at the moment and we'll see what happens come the end of the season."

Scholes, 35, has played 619 times for United scoring 145 goals, including a fierce strike against West Ham on Saturday.

Sir Alex Ferguson has made no secret about his desire to keep his old heads at Old Trafford, whose experience he sees as providing a vital contribution to the club on and off the pitch. But while Giggs, 36, has continued to flourish, Scholes has not been able to maintain the form that has made him consistently one of the best midfielders in the Premier League over the past 15 years.

"The secret of Ryan's success is his sheer professionalism," Scholes said. "He's been a top player for nearly 20 years. I would have thought he's probably the best player this club has ever had.

"He just keeps going stronger and stronger each time he plays and seems to create a goal or score one himself. He's just been fantastic to play with. I think when Ryan retires he won't just be regarded as one of the greats, he'll be the one and only.

"To be here 20 years and still going strong and playing as well as ever, I think that, when he retires, he will be the one who stands out."

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