Maybe it’s the boredom of being away from the pitch and the day-to-day of being associated with a football club, but Paul Scholes hasn’t taken long or shied away from getting stuck in to a number of topics.
And what’s the problem with that? Would we prefer sterile, safe punditry? Scholes, whether or not we agree with him, has generated debate.
Scholes held no punches in his assessment of Wayne Rooney, citing that the player had peaked at 26 and may not be around too much longer after he turns 30. It’s an interesting angle. England has a player who should be among the best in the world but isn’t even the best in his own league. There are at least five players who you’d consider better than Rooney in the Premier League, and that’s without giving it much thought.
But Scholes has dug into this debate and offered something genuinely useful. Rooney isn’t the player we thought he’d become. There was plenty of discussion about whether Rooney should be dropped from England’s World Cup team in Brazil, and Scholes supported the idea by suggesting the player’s irregular form and overall disappointment for the national team didn’t warrant an unconditional starting place.
There isn’t really much of an issue with Scholes being candid on topics that do matter. Since retiring (for the second time), he’s completely abandoned his quiet on-pitch demeanour. And isn’t this the kind of former player we ought to be listening to? Scholes is lauded as one of the best products this country has produced, so good that the England team’s visceral approach to the game couldn’t accommodate him.
Jack Wilshere has been another disappointment for the most part. Scholes’ critique of the Arsenal midfielder wasn’t off by any means. And so what if he ruffles a few feathers? If it gets Wilshere playing better and improving on his current game then there really is no harm done. Wilshere and Scholes were said to have had a private conversation following, and during his game for England against Costa Rica in Brazil, Wilshere did show plenty of signs of promise for what could come next season.
Scholes’ latest offering is on Manchester United’s £34 million signing of Luke Shaw. We’re all thinking it: it’s an insane amount of money to spend on a teenager, let alone a teenage left-back. The wider issue is what such signings – the high value placed on English players – does for the national team, with teams looking abroad for cheaper alternatives.
In addition, Scholes isn’t wrong for wanting a 30-goal centre-forward for over £30 million.
Scholes’ input since hanging up the boots for good has been edgy and enjoyable. Why lament the abundance of boring coverage but then question the input of someone who’s willing to offer something interesting?
We don’t really need consistency from Scholes in him replicating his quiet nature on the pitch to his assessment of it. They’re two completely different worlds.
Scholes has offered interesting insight to the game. We don’t have to agree with everything he says, but there’s no harm done in him disrupting a market saturated with generally boring or, at times, pointless statements on the game.