Paul Scholes: Fernando Torres’s loss of form in front of goal is remarkable

What has happened to Torres is one of those mysteries in football

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The Independent Football

I watched the Milan derby on Sunday and it seems that things haven’t changed much for Fernando Torres. He has scored one goal all season, in his second game against Empoli, and it was the same on Sunday: no goal and substituted on 73 minutes.

What has happened to Torres is remarkable. From the player he was in 2009, when he gave Nemanja Vidic such a hard time at Old Trafford, to the player he has become, has been one of those mysteries in football. I realise that at times at Chelsea, especially in 2012-13, he did have some decent goalscoring runs. But overall the decline has been sharp.

At his best he was the kind of player I would have loved to have had at United. Then things changed for him at Chelsea.

At the start of the 2004-05 season, I went 15 games without scoring a goal. It was killing me. I felt so low. I had no confidence in my technique. I didn’t trust myself passing the ball five yards. Then I scored against Charlton Athletic at Old Trafford and ended up scoring seven in seven games.

For Diego Forlan, when he went 27 games without a goal for United, the worst thing was he couldn’t even score in training. But he went on to have a great career, at Villarreal and Atletico Madrid. The strange thing is that Torres has never turned that corner, and it feels like he never will.

I’m delighted Phelan has made a return to football

I am amazed that it has taken so long for Mike Phelan to find another job in football, and that he has not yet been appointed a manager somewhere.

It is good to see that he has gone back to one of his former clubs, Norwich City, as a coach. People don’t realise just how important Mike was at United. He took so much of the day-to-day pressure off Sir Alex by making sure players’ commitments to sponsors never affected match-day preparation and got everything to run smoothly and on time.

Mike was always the first port of call when you had a problem. I went to see him first when I wanted to come out of retirement in 2012. He knew the character of the players so well – who needed some consoling words, and who needed a kick up the arse.

Mike would watch training every day and was always absorbing information about performance, fitness and mood. He had a great eye for detail and was liked and respected by the players and the manager. I have no doubt he will make a great manager himself one day.

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