Paul Scholes at his majestic best is a sight that's been one of the highlights of United’s season so far. We caught up with United's 35-year-old midfield magician and found that his passion for playing the game is as strong as ever...
You’ve been in the thick of the action so far this season – has the boss said how much you’ll play?
No, he’d never say that to us. I just have to make sure I’m ready when called upon. I work hard every day and prepare as if I’m going to play in every game. I want to be involved as much as I can, but I know I won’t be playing nine or 10 on the trot. There will be times when I won’t be picked, or I’ll be sub, but as long as I prepare mentally and physically for that, I’ll be OK.
You’ve said you prefer criticism to praise. When have you been driven to prove people wrong?
Some people wrote me off when I had my eye problem a few years ago, but that never really bothered me. I was aware people had their doubts, but myself and the medical team here always knew that I’d return to fitness and it would just take a bit of time. We all like to prove people wrong. Some of the players here have taken a lot of stick in the past, but they always come back and show people that they probably shouldn’t have said what they did.
You’ve scored a couple of momentous goals against Sunday’s opponents Liverpool at OT, in 1998 and 2006…
The goal in the Treble season was with my left foot, wasn’t it? I was just surprised that it went in to the top corner! It was a decent strike, but I was also pleased because it sealed the win for us. And the one in 2006 was a nice occasion because it was my 500th game and against Liverpool. It was a scrappy goal, but they all count.
Were you flattered by all the talk of you playing for England again, or was it distracting?
A bit of both, really. I could have done without all the speculation, but it obviously showed I was doing something right at the back end of last season, so it was nice. Maybe when I was younger that type of media talk would have distracted me, but nothing really bothers me too much now.
Anderson has often been touted as your long-term successor. What must he do to fulfil his potential?
Ando is a top midfielder. He’s just coming back to fitness now after a long time out through injury, and he’s starting to look really good in training. He’s such a powerful lad and a great runner; he can pass the ball, and he’s capable of making and scoring