Scholes reveals he expected to retire
Paul Scholes has admitted at Christmas last year he thought he would have retired by now.
The veteran Manchester United star is currently one of the most talked about players in the Premier League.
Fabio Capello tried - and failed - to talk him out of international retirement in order to play a part in England's ultimately dismal World Cup campaign and successive man-of-the-match performances in the Community Shield and opening day Premier League win over Newcastle confirm the 35-year-old is on top form once more.
Yet, while 2010 will go down as one of Scholes' best years as a professional, in his eyes, 2009 was one of the worst.
And, in a special interview for MUTV with former United European Cup winner Paddy Crerand, Scholes acknowledged things were so bad, he was seriously considering whether to hang up his boots.
"At Christmas last season I did not think I would be playing in this one," he admitted.
"I wasn't playing well enough.
"The season before last I had an injury for three months and then from Christmas onwards my form wasn't brilliant. Leading up to Christmas last year it still wasn't great.
"I wasn't playing as much as I would have liked but you need to be playing well to get into the team.
"I set myself high standards. I want to feel as though I am contributing to the team. If I am not doing that what is the point of being here."
Fortunately, Sir Alex Ferguson had other ideas.
The United boss reassured Scholes he was still making a valuable contribution to the Red Devils cause and after taking the club to within a point of what would have his 10th Premier League title, Capello made his move.
Scholes has already admitted he regrets saying no to the under-fire England chief.
However, the summer break does mean he is fresh at the moment and ready to make a positive impact when his appearances start to get rationed as the games mount up.
"The manager has handled me, Ryan and Gary the same way for the last couple of seasons and I am sure this season will be no different," he said.
"If I am playing well enough, maybe I will play 25 or 30 games.
"You want to play every game but at our age, you can't."
Scholes has now sidelined any talk of retirement and intends to keep going as long as he legs can carry him.
Ferguson recently spoke of the possibility United's ageing heroes could maintain a career at the highest level until they were 40.
Yet even that date is not too far away, leaving the Salford-born star to contemplate what lies ahead.
"I want to stay in football," he said.
"I started my coaching badges towards the end of last season. Hopefully I can get the first part done at some point this year."
Latest in Sport
Andy Murray tells how coach Amélie Mauresmo revealed her pregnancy
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: The biggest fight of all time, or maybe just the most lucrative?
What time does Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao start?
Everton 3 Manchester United 0 player ratings: Who scored lower - Marouane Fellaini or Radamel Falcao?
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: What time does it start and where can I watch it?
- 2 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 3 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 4 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 5 UK weather: Britain braced for snow to replace sun as arctic air mass moves in
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove