Paul Scholes's five best games ever

Paul Scholes was one of the best players in the history of Manchester United and English football as a whole. While he was never the most popular player when compared to others of his generation, he was always very important for the success of Sir Alex Ferguson's team at Old Trafford, cementing him as one of the finest players in that country.

Paul Scholes
However, not a lot is said when it comes to Scholes' individual performances. Although he was very consistent, he is one of those players that doesn't have a lot of matches that get recognition, so here are, in no particular order, the best five matches in Paul Scholes' career.

5. Against Argentina (2002 FIFA World Cup)

Scholes never had the best stint with the England national team. He was often played on the wings, never had the team built for him to thrive in, and England, as a group, didn't win anything, so the whole experience for the United midfielder was probably viewed as a fiasco.

However, in the group stages of the 2002 FIFA World Cup, Scholes had a very underrated performance against Argentina. The South American nation were the favorites for the competition and, coached by Marcelo Bielsa, had a great collection of players, such as Scholes' teammate at the time, Juan Sebastian Veron, Roberto Ayala, Javier Zanetti, Hernan Crespo, Gabriel Batistuta, and many more.

Considering that they were eliminated by Argentina in the previous edition of the World Cup in 1998, and the entire sociopolitical situation between these two countries because of the Malvinas, this was a match with a lot of tension.

England would go on to win the game 1-0 thanks to a David Beckham penalty, but Scholes was one of the unseen heroes that day. He was all over the pitch, coupled with United teammate Nicky Butt in central midfield, and gave arguably his best performance with an England shirt. Definitely one of his most underrated matches.

4. Against Manchester City (2012 FA Cup)

This was a very special performance not only because of what Scholes did on the pitch but also because of what it represented. The English midfielder had retired at the end of the previous season, but a series of injuries forced manager Sir Alex Ferguson to call him and asked him to come back for a final run.

This match was when Scholes came back to professional football: a 3-2 victory over Manchester City in the FA Cup and Paul entered in the last twenty minutes to add a bit of experience and know-how on midfield. This would prove to be key and Scholes was a helpful presence during a season where the old guard was slowly fading away at United.

Scholes would eventually play for the remainder of that season and the next one, winning another Premier League trophy for his CV, which went to show everybody that, even at almost forty years, he was still a wonderful player and capable of performing at the highest level.

3. Against Blackburn Rovers (2010/11 Premier League)

Here's the thing with Scholes as a player: he was never the one doing the most amazing things on the football pitch. He wasn't the one scoring the goals, he wasn't the one making the assists, he wasn't the best when it came to tackling, and didn't dribble much. However, he was a master of what a player should do with a football in midfield, and his performance in the 1-1 draw with Blackburn Rovers in the 2010/11 season was a testament to that.

All United needed in this game to secure the title was one point and that they got with a 1-1 draw. However, it was what Scholes did in the last thirty minutes of the game what separated him from most players in the sport: he took full control of the situation, led United to have a greater hold of the ball, and kept a cool head at a moment when they were having a lot of pressure.

This was Paul Scholes close to retirement and his experience and wisdom as a player was there for all to see. One of those performances that go under the radar but make a world of difference when challenging for trophies.

Man U flag together with EPL flag

2. Against Newcastle (2002/2003 Premier League)

The 2002/2003 season as a whole was great for Scholes as he scored 20 games across all competitions for United, which was his best season on that front. The best performance in that season was definitely the 6-2 victory over Newcastle United and Scholes was heavily involved in the score sheet that day.

As mentioned earlier, Scholes was never the kind of player that would get the headlines or a lot of the spotlight, but this time, against Newcastle, it proves to be different as he scored three goals, making him the best performer that day and one of the most important players that season as United went on to win the 2002/03 league title.

This is one of those performances that are often memory-holed, but it showed Scholes in his prime and a side of his that is not often brought to the front.

1. Against FC Barcelona (2007/08 UEFA Champions League)

Now, whenever someone mentions Scholes against Barcelona it is always the second leg of the 2007/08 UEFA Champions League semi-final where United won 1-0 and Paul scored a spectacular goal to take his team to the final. While that was Scholes' greatest moment as a player, his overall performance that night was one of his finest because United were giving the ball to Barcelona and sitting back, which kept him from doing what he did best.

However, the first leg was another story. The game ended 0-0, but Scholes' qualities were shown at a much better rate and he was key in maintaining the score as it remained because it gave United the edge of settling the tie at home. One of those performances by Scholes that deserves a lot more recognition.
Kelvin Tingling knows most things about football and also likes to write about it. Kelvin lives in Buenos Aires and his favorite team is Boca Juniors.