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Jul 28, 2011

Scholes: I don't need replacing

Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes is not convinced the club need to be in any rush to replace him this summer.

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Scholes, 36, retired from football earlier in the summer - after an illustrious playing career at United that saw him win 10 Premier League titles, three FA Cups and two Champions League crowns.

The Old Trafford club have subsequently been linked with the likes of Wesley Sneijder, Luka Modric and Samir Nasri this summer, as Sir Alex Ferguson looks for a new midfield playmaker - ostensibly to replace the creativity and quality Scholes offered.

Yet the man himself doesn't believe he has left the sort of gaping hole that desperately needs filling, arguing instead that for the final few years of his career he wasn't the influential presence many seem to be remembering.

"I don't think it is a big deal really replacing me because I haven't been the type of player people are talking about for the last four or five years," Scholes told the Manchester Evening News. "I haven't been scoring goals or been the main playmaker in the team for a while. I don't think I actually need replacing in that way at all.

"I wasn't pulling the strings anymore, definitely in the last two years and probably even since I was 31-32. I haven't been as prominent in the side. I wasn't scoring the goals and I wasn't making the goals.

"I think people are obsessed with having to replace me. If you look at the facts over the last couple of years, I haven't played in the big games, so I don't think there is that much that needs replacing!

"I think when people are talking about replacing Paul Scholes they are talking about replacing the Paul Scholes of five years ago. I was more prominent then. Because I wasn't contributing as much anymore was part of the reason why I retired. My contribution wasn't enough for a Man United midfielder."

The former England international believes the current squad can all take on the responsibility he left, with the likes of Anderson and Tom Cleverley able to grow into greater roles.

"I wouldn't have any worries going with the players already at the club," he added. "We have loads of talent who can play there. Ryan Giggs did it brilliantly last season, Darren Fletcher, Tom, Anderson, Michael and Ji-sung Park can play there.

"There are no concerns at all - I think we are as good and probably better in that department than we have ever been."

Scholes believes the only player in recent times the club have urgently needed to find a replacement for was Roy Keane - yet since the Irishman's departure the club has gone on to sustained success. Scholes believes that is both testament to Ferguson's astute management, and evidence that no one player will ever become more important than the club.

"This club and this manager will always keep the ball rolling. Other clubs might not be able to deal with it but United can," Scholes added. "I think Roy Keane came closest to being irreplaceable. You think what a leader he was, what a player he was and you think, 'How do you replace that'?

"But look how successful we have been since he went in 2005. Four Premier League titles. Three Champions League finals in four years. That tells you everything. If someone like Roy is not going to be missed, then nobody is going to be missed."

Scholes thinks Sneijder, Modric and Nasri all look like top players but warned even they could fail to deliver.

"The ones who have been linked all look like they are capable of playing for United, but there are no guarantees," he said. "You could sign Sneijder for £35 million-£40 million and it might not work out. He went to Real Madrid and it didn't quite work out for him there, so you just don't know.

"The three linked the most with United are all great, top players. Of the three Modric, when we've played against him, has been the one I have been most impressed with."

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