Neville and Scholes argue over Van Nistelrooy

Saturday 01 July 2023 16:00

To celebrate Ruud van Nistelrooy's 47th birthday, we're taking a trip down memory lane to recall the time Manchester United legends Gary Neville and Paul Scholes discussing the former Reds striker on their 'The Overlap' episode from 2022.

Neville’s YouTube series has become essential viewing in recent years after providing in-depth interviews with some of sport’s biggest names, as well as live events with supporters.

But one episode in particular has stood out to some United fans, with van Nistelrooy a hot topic when discussing some of our former strikers and where the former PSV boss ranks in terms of his sheer ability in front of goal. 

With Ruud having now featured himself on the programme, let's look back at when a previous episode with Scholes caused quite the stir, with a round of quickfire questions leading to a fascinating debate on van Nistelrooy.

All The Goals: Ruud van Nistelrooy Video

All The Goals: Ruud van Nistelrooy

All The Goals | Watch Ruud van Nistelrooy's 150 United finishes to remind yourself of his greatness...

Van Nistelrooy was a goalscoring sensation throughout his five seasons at United, netting 150 goals in 219 appearances. But the Dutchman’s time as a Red came to an end when Sir Alex Ferguson evolved our style of play to focus on more combative, counter-attacking players, notably with a couple of young talents called Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney becoming more influential. 

Scholes had famously developed an outstanding relationship with van Nistelrooy and often played in the number 10 role behind him, providing the ammunition for Ruud to fire home. It worked magnificently and, in The Overlap, Neville reveals he and Paul disagree over his suitability. 
“We argue about this,” admits Gary. “I love Ruud, we both love Ruud, I do, but I say Manchester United needed counter-attacking players, we needed power and pace when we had, like, Yorke and Cole, or Rooney and Tevez, those types of power players that ran the channels and they were pressing. We were very different with Ruud, but you liked that period with Ruud didn't you.”

In response, Scholes says: “I loved playing with Ruud because I knew what he wanted without speaking to him, if you know what I mean. I don't think it's true [that I was the only one who spot his runs], but I just knew what he wanted and at that time I was playing number 10 really, I wasn't playing in centre-midfield. Do you know what, football is all about that, your relationships with people. I don't think you see a lot of that these days.”

Ruud van Nistelrooy - "How Sir Alex kept me hungry for more"


It's the long-awaited arrival of Ruud van Nistelrooy to UTD Podcast. The Dutch goal machine joined us to look back on his career and his goal-laden years at Old Trafford in particular. Ruud went into great detail about his failed move to United the first time around, revealing the emotions and conversations that went on in 2000. He also spoke about the fierce rivalry with Arsenal, how he felt in direct competition with Thierry Henry, and that missed penalty incident with Martin Keown. We also addressed the rumours about his conflict with Cristiano Ronaldo, with Ruud telling us about training ground bust-ups and how things stand between the two since then.

Van Nistelrooy left United in 2006 and he went on to enjoy success with Real Madrid, while Sir Alex’s evolving team blossomed to win three Premier League titles in a row, plus the Champions League, so it worked out for all parties.

When Ruud appeared on our UTD Podcast series, he reflected on the circumstances of his exit and spoke about the situation with typical class. Of course, he had made up with Sir Alex several years earlier when he returned to Old Trafford to attend the unveiling of his statue.

UTD Podcast with Van Nistelrooy: