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Wednesday 18 July 2018

Jose is foolish to pick a fight with legend Scholes

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho. Photo: PA Wire
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho. Photo: PA Wire

When it comes to the affection and regard Manchester United supporters have for Paul Scholes, he has enough in the bank to last ten lifetimes. In this area, Jose Mourinho is running a big deficit.

He must be desperate indeed to go hunting a club legend in the media, particularly one like Scholes who had few words to say during his career and did all his talking on the pitch.

Now, he is employed to offer his opinions on football and in this case, Paul Pogba's usefulness to Manchester United and Mourinho is taking the criticism to heart.

No surprise there. Mourinho pinned his hat on Pogba when he gave him a billing as the most complete midfielder in the world.

It was a foolish statement for Mourinho to make and I said so at the time simply because it wasn't true. Pogba is not a complete midfielder and that hasn't changed.

Paul Scholes
Paul Scholes

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In fact, I would agree with most of the comments I've seen from Scholes on Pogba which are broadly in line with what many have been saying on the subject.

But Mourinho's response was despicable. He suggested that Scholes was in some way envious of Pogba because of the money he earned. Very nasty indeed.

In a purely practical, financial sense, Scholes is not short of a few bob. In fact, he's a multi-millionaire and I'm pretty sure he's not doing punditry just for the money.

I'm not sure that Scholes even wants to be a pundit. He has spoken recently of how uncomfortable he feels doing it and this should not a surprise given his personality and the way he ran his career.

My gut feeling on Scholes is that he is a bit lost. Life after football played at his level must be very pale and I think he is doing punditry to be involved.

He applied for a job at Old Trafford and was turned down which was obviously a blow to him but shows he wants to stay in the game. Being a pundit is a way of doing that while he figures out his next step.

But he may never go in to management which makes Mourinho's next, sour comment so stupid and exposes the gaping hole in his own CV.

"If Paul decides to be a manager one day," said Mourinho, putting on his Mystic Meg hat, "I wish that he can be 25% as successful as myself. Fifty per cent is 12-and-a-half silverware, 25% is around six (trophies). If he is 25% he will be quite happy."

This is truly pathetic. Mourinho is inventing a comparison to place himself on Scholes's level, as if his management success makes him an equal in some way.

Sorry Jose, it doesn't work that way. Scholes is not a manager and you were never a player.

What Scholes achieved as a player makes him a genuine great of the game in any era even if he never did another thing. It is exactly the factor which will influence Manchester United fans when they are judging this exchange between a true legend of Old Trafford and a mean spirited manager who, likely as not, is only passing through.

The fans have eyes and they see what I see. They understand that Pogba has not lived up to his billing and that Mourinho is damaged goods.

They love Paul Scholes for what he did for them and their club and this is a fight Mourinho cannot win which makes me wonder why he would bother with it at all.

But his nature is so arrogant, so childishly petulant that he cannot help himself and that's why he tried to wave his medals in front of one of the most decorated and respected footballers in the history of the game.

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