It didn’t take long for Sky Sports ‘ latest Premier League star-turned-pundit to deliver his first controversial statement of the new season, with Jamie Carragher claiming that he saw both Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard as better players than Paul Scholes.
Cue the bemusement aimed in Carragher’s direction from across the desk, with former Manchester United defender Gary Neville ready to speak up for his old team-mate.
Carragher’s initial words came when he was asked out of the three where he felt they ranked in terms of ability as a midfield player.
"They are three world-class players,” admitted Carragher. “Top for me is Stevie (Gerrard) – the reason he is top is in terms of his big-game influence, in Istanbul and in Cardiff," he said. "Lampard the same, his goals in the FA Cup final, to win the league at Bolton. He's slightly ahead of Scholes for me."
Neville shot a stare of utter confusion towards his former rival, before giving his opinion on where he ranked the three.
“Paul Scholes is the best player I've ever played with. He's a unique talent," Neville said.
"I'll take the Scholes of 2004-2010/11 as the very best: comparable to the Xavis, the Pirlos in his ability to control the tempo of a whole match. It is not just about scoring the goals. People used to ask why Manchester United scored so many late goals, it was because they used to knacker teams for 85 minutes by keeping possession and wore them out.
"To be fair, Steven Gerrard added this to his game over the past two years, but you can't compare. It's like comparing Messi and Ronaldo."
Carragher responded to Neville by asking why former England boss Sven Goran Eriksson decided to move Scholes to the right to accommodate Gerrard before he announced his international retirement, to which Neville answered it was the “easy option because Scholes could play there".
But Carragher came fighting back once more, and asked if Scholes was so good why did Sir Alex Ferguson feel the need to go out and sign Juan Sebastian Veron to cover a similar position, to which Neville could not answer.
The argument was left there, before the former Liverpool central defender launched a fresh attack on the philosophy that no youngster grows up wanting to be “a Gary Neville” – and play full-back – to which Neville erupted in uncontainable laughter along with Carragher and the shows presenter Ed Chamberlain.
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