Elder stateseman brings a touch of NFL with killer passes says team-mate
Darren Fletcher believes Paul Scholes is bringing a touch of NFL to the Premier League this season.
The campaign may not be very old but already the 35-year-old has shown exactly why England boss Fabio Capello was so desperate to have him at the World Cup this summer.
Scholes won man-of-the-match awards in both the Community Shield win over Chelsea and Monday's opening-day league triumph against Newcastle, destroying both opponents with his devastating ability to deliver accurate passes.
Fletcher featured alongside the former England star at Old Trafford earlier this week. And he can see similarities with Scholes' approach and the kingmakers of American Football.
"He is like a deep-lying quarterback," said Fletcher.
"He is probably better at controlling the tempo of a game than anyone else in the league.
"He can speed it up or slow it down as he wishes. His range of passing is second to none.
"People talk about his age but he has so much experience. His touch and awareness are amazing.
"He can just sit in midfield and control teams. He dominates and plays killer passes, like he did on Monday."
It seems strange to think Alex Ferguson had to talk Scholes into extending his career last season after the midfielder expressed reservations about the contribution he was making to the United cause.
As Fletcher observes, although Scholes' style has changed markedly down the years, if anything, his influence has increased.
"Thank goodness the manager talked him into carrying on," said Fletcher.
"Paul has been a quality player for a number of years now, but he has reinvented himself.
"He is not the box-to-box goalscorer he used to be but the experience he has gained allows him to make an impact in different ways."
Scholes does not fit the current desire to pigeon-hole players into areas of the pitch.
His tackling is so erratic he could never be described as a holding player, while his bursts forward are too irregular for him to be put in the attacking midfield bracket.
That is possibly why opponents find Scholes so hard to combat.
Fulham will be the latest to try and combat one of English football's elder statesmen at Craven Cottage on Sunday.
It will not be easy, even if, according to Fletcher, he is a dream to play with.
"It is just about awareness," he said.
"If you see one go, the other one sits. Most of the time Paul sits and I drag people away and try to get into the box. Every so often Paul will go and I will stay.
"It is just a little shout between us but that is all it needs."