Sir Alex Ferguson believes veteran Paul Scholes is good for another season at Manchester United, but the player himself is less convinced. Scholes, 36, returned in Tuesday's breathless 3-2 victory over Blackpool after eight weeks out with a groin injury.
He had not featured for the first team since November's Champions League win over Rangers, but on his return to the side Scholes displayed the efficiency that has been a feature of his 660 appearances for the club he joined straight from school nearly 20 years ago.
Scholes, who delivered the pass from which Dimitar Berbatov fired the winning goal, was described as an "absolute genius" by Blackpool manager Ian Holloway. However, doubts persist in Scholes' mind about the wisdom of extending his career beyond the end of this season. Just a week ago Ryan Giggs spoke of his desire to continue his career at Old Trafford into next season, beyond his 38th birthday in November, but when Scholes was asked if he felt the same way, he said he was undecided.
"I don't know what I'm doing next year. I just want to concentrate on getting back playing for now. I like to have a week or two off at Christmas. This one just stretched out a bit longer, which has not been ideal. Hopefully in the next few weeks I can regain some fitness," he said.
Last season Scholes continued to defy the passage of time and statistics showed he was the Premier League's most consistent passer of the ball, with a success rate of 89.58 per cent. While Scholes has been out with his recent groin injury, his role in the side has been ably filled by Anderson, who has strung together his best run of performances since joining the club in 2007. The Brazilian's displays have earned him a long-term deal.
United are in pole position to claim a record 19th title but Scholes warned against complacency despite the club's current position. "We've still got some very difficult away games to come," said Scholes. "We have to play the likes of Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea away from home but we are in a strong position at the minute. We need to keep that going."
United had to come from two goals down to beat Blackpool at Bloomfield Road but, inspired by the half-time introduction of Giggs and Javier Hernandez, they fought back and two goals from Berbatov and one from Hernandez won the game.
Midfielder Darren Fletcher said Ferguson had given them the belief that a victory was still possible during his half-time team talk. "He made us believe that we could still do it," Fletcher said. "He said it was important to get that first goal early to give us time to go on and get the second and, hopefully, the third. He really inspires us and gets us going."
United will be without full-back Rafael for Saturday's FA Cup fourth round tie at Southampton. The Brazilian full-back suffered concussion after he clashed heads with Marlon Harewood at Blackpool.