Ferdinand praises the golden oldies

 

Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand is delighted that two of his favourite Premier League players are treading the boards on the biggest stage once more.

After the striker Thierry Henry made his mark on a second debut for Arsenal last week, he was followed on to the goalscoring chart by Paul Scholes when the midfielder, just returned from retirement, set United on their way to victory over Bolton on Saturday.

Next Sunday, the pair will go head to head at the Emirates, as United travel to Arsenal. The build-up is bound to include memories of great deeds from Henry and Scholes, and Ferdinand concedes there are plenty.

"It is great to see two of the best players come back," the defender said. "If I was going to name a top-five list of players to have played in the Premier League, Scholes and Henry would be in there. It's fantastic for Arsenal, just as it is for us to have Scholes back. Hopefully, he's going to help us get over the line and win another couple of trophies."

The United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, reintroduced Scholes to his squad for the FA Cup tie against Manchester City earlier this month without informing any of his playing staff. Ferdinand did try to unearth the information, but, typically, Scholes was not forthcoming with any details.

"I spoke to Scholesy a few weeks beforehand and asked him if he was coming back but he doesn't give anything away," Ferdinand said. "When he met up with the squad the day before the City game, I asked him again if he was in the squad but he said he was coming to watch as part of the staff. I had an inkling he might be back, though, because he trained the day before with us but it wasn't until the kit man told me before the game that he had brought his gear that I knew for certain."

Scholes' return has been greeted with mixed feelings, with some arguing it is a regressive step for a club trying to win a record 20th title. The 37-year-old's two performances so far have been patchy, although he retains a calmness in possession that Ferdinand does not feel many could exude after six months out of the game.

"There are only a handful of players on the planet who could do it," Ferdinand said. "Iniesta, Xavi, Messi. They are the type of players who can come in at any time and look as though they could just play football at the drop of a hat at the top level, the game is so natural to them."

And having spent so long as a team-mate, Ferdinand is acutely aware of the benefits Scholes will bring to the younger members of Ferguson's squad. "For the young players learning their trade, especially our midfielders – they can see a top player at work," Ferdinand said. "His experience is invaluable, as well as his calmness on the pitch and his know-how of the game. When you've got wingers like ours and forwards who want to get in behind the defenders and attack teams, a player like him who can put the ball on a sixpence is great."

Ferdinand is confident of being fit for the Arsenal game, and yesterday wrote on his Twitter page: "Just dispelling the rumours that I'm a doubt for sunday! Trained with the team as normal since the game saturday! Coaches ran us hard 2day!"

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
techPatent specifies 'anthropomorphic device' to control media devices
Voices
The PM proposed 'commonsense restrictions' on migrant benefits
voicesAndrew Grice: Prime Minister can talk 'one nation Conservatism' but putting it into action will be tougher
News
Ireland will not find out whether gay couples have won the right to marry until Saturday afternoon
news
News
Kim Jong-un's brother Kim Jong-chol
news
News
Manchester city skyline as seen from Oldham above the streets of terraced houses in North West England on 7 April 2015.
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?