Ferguson talked Scholes out of retirement

Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed he talked midfield maestro Paul Scholes out of retiring.

Scholes has signed a one-year contract extension with Manchester United after initially expressing doubts over whether to continue with his career, which could yet yield him a 10th Premier League title winners medal next week.

Recent performances suggest it was the correct move, with Scholes being as influential as any United player in the Red Devils taking Chelsea to the last day of the season to clinch the championship.

His last-gasp matchwinner at Manchester City was a throwback to Scholes' halcyon days.

And, although Ferguson admitted he needed to twist the 35-year-old's arm, he was not willing to let such ability slip through his fingers.

"I did speak to him," Ferguson told United's official magazine Inside United.

"He'd intimated that he may retire at the end of the season.

"I said, 'I'll decide when you retire.....look, Paul, you can play there's no question of that. Your ability's there, there's no deterioration in your actual play'.

"When you get to his age, and the same goes for Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville, there's a deterioration in the physical aspect of it. That's natural. We all face that.

"But in terms of his ability, there's no deterioration whatsoever.

"In fact, Paul's every bit as good, if not even better, because the experience he's added to the ability he's got means he's a big asset to us - as he was against City. He helped to control the match."

Ferguson believes United are benefiting from Scholes' decision to focus his energy purely on club matters.

Never the greatest traveller, Scholes quit the England scene following Euro 2004 even though he had yet to reach his 30th birthday.

Fabio Capello never made any attempt to change the midfielder's mind, knowing it was futile.

Steve McClaren tried more than once, but Ferguson never felt that was likely either, knowing it was not a decision Scholes would ever have cause to regret, even if England win the World Cup this summer.

"I don't think Paul's the type the feel bitter about that or feel he'd lost something in his life," said Ferguson.

"He made his decision based on his family and I think it helped him for the initial couple of years after he retired from the international scene.

"But he had a great career at that level. He should have no recriminations because it's allowed him to move his career on here to the extent that we've given him a new contract.

"Age always comes into it and Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville and Paul Scholes are not going to last forever.

"But they're defying everyone at the moment in terms of their durability and enthusiasm to play. How they've looked after themselves has been critical and a monumental part of why they're still here."

Yet, while the international days of Scholes, and Giggs, are behind them, Ferguson still feels Neville could enjoy a glorious autumn to his career in South Africa this summer.

"He has got a great chance," said Ferguson.

"Fabio has not got a really settled right back.

"Wes Brown has been injured for a while and you have got Glen Johnson at Liverpool but Gary Neville's experience, as he showed in the derby against Craig Bellamy makes him the top man at the moment. His form has been fantastic."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
From Mean Girls to Mamet: Lindsay Lohan
theatre
Sport
Nathaniel Clyne (No 2) drives home his side's second goal past Arsenal’s David Ospina at the Emirates
footballArsenal 1 Southampton 2: Arsène Wenger pays the price for picking reserve side in Capital One Cup
News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
i100
Travel
travelGallery And yes, it is indoors
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
The Tiger Who Came To Tea
booksJudith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
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

Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

BBC Television Centre

A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
Lonesome George: Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains

My George!

Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains
10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world