The right answer to that question is nobody, Paul Scholes is irreplaceable and there is no doubt in my mind that he is a one of a kind genius, that no other footballer could ever truly replace him. However there are players who can come close to the quality required to replace the ginger prince.
The replacement of Paul Scholes is an idea I pondered for many a month when he first retired, but after his magnificent return the thought got pushed to the back of my mind, but lately, especially with the rumours of this being his last season, it has got me thinking who can replace the irreplaceable? I’ve narrowed it down to three candidates all within Sir Alex’s reach, this being because they all currently wear the red of Manchester.
The 3 players I believe have the ability to fill the void of Paul Scholes are as follows: Tom Cleverley, Wayne Rooney and Nick Powell. I selected these three as they all have a similar style in one way or another to the Paul Scholes philosophy, each also have a unique trait that links them directly to the midfield maestro.
Firstly, Tom Cleverley, a product of the United youth, technically anyway as United took him from Bradford City in the year 2000 at the age of 12. He spent four years in the Manchester United youth academy, which is the perfect surroundings to learn the Paul Scholes way of football. Tom Cleverley of now has grown a huge amount over the last season, creating a partnership with Michael Carrick which is proving to be the best combination in the centre of the park Manchester United has to offer. Cleverley’s link up play with the attacking forces ahead of him is very similar to a young Paul Scholes. Those old enough to remember will know that Scholes was very key in going forward in a very fast attack linking up with strikers like Yorke and Cole near enough every game. Another interesting link between the two is that Paul Scholes has scored against Newcastle more than any other premier league club, who did Cleverley score his first 2 united goals against?
Next, Wayne Rooney. Rooney is currently undergoing the transition from out and out striker to the creative player just behind the striker. Rooney has all the skills needed to be a centre midfielder, he has the strength to hold the ball, he has the skills to create a decent assist record from the midfield position, which he’s shown this season with 7 assists already, he tracks back as a striker often putting in a defensive shift which from the midfield position he could do quicker and more often, he can pass short and long, he’s recently began perfecting the diagonal pass trademarked by Scholes, and Wayne can shoot and score from long distances, another trait that is renowned to the name Paul Scholes. I haven’t even mentioned the fact that Wayne Rooney is one of the most talented players in football and has the ability to adapt to any position he’s asked to play in, and still make it seem as if he’s been playing in that role his entire career. Wayne is also still young in terms of age being only 27 if he’s anything like Paul, he has at least 10 more years in him. Its also important to note that it isn’t unheard-of for a striker to transform into a central midfielder. Just have a look where Paul himself started his footballing career.
Finally, Nick Powell. A young man bought just a few months ago for the low sum of 4 million pounds, an 18 year old that Sir Alex Ferguson has personally claimed can “fill the boots” of Paul. Sir Alex also made it clear that Nick has terrific vision, speed and two talented feet. But the main trait that links Nick to Paul for me is the way Nick strikes the ball. I took sometime to watch Nick at Crewe last season, and the goals he scored, near enough all from outside of the box, instantly reminded me of Paul. Nick hits the ball with incredible accuracy, stupendous speed and unbelievable power that no goal keeper can handle. Nick also lingers on the edge of the box at corners waiting for the ball to fall for him at the right moment just like Paul has done for so many years.
I personally believe Wayne Rooney is the ideal candidate of the three ready to fill the boots of the midfield maestro as his talent is already there to mould himself into the position, but Nick could become one of the greatest English midfielder’s we may ever see in the near future, as he is just 18 years of age and already proving he could be the future centre midfielder of one of the worlds biggest clubs. As for Tom Cleverley there’s no knowing what his potential holds, already an unbelievable talent who’s made the midfield spot his own, with a consistent run without injuries Tom Cleverley can easily be a name seen on the United teamsheet for years to come. But it shouldn’t be forgotten that Paul Scholes is Paul Scholes, a one in a million midfielder that nobody on the planet could ever completely replace.
By Written By Elliot Lewis