Football

Valencia tips Scholes for success

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Antonio Valencia is among those to have championed the decision to bring Paul Scholes out of retirement, and the Manchester United winger is confident that the former England international can play a leading role in a keenly-contested Barclays Premier League title race this season.

The 37-year-old veteran midfielder will plug an important gap in the middle of the park for the Red Devils, who are short on central midfield options with the likes of Darren Fletcher and Tom Cleverley ruled out with long-term injuries.

In truth, Scholes needed little convincing, and has slipped seamlessly back into Sir Alex Ferguson's first-team fold, after scoring the opening goal in last weekend's 3-0 victory over Bolton Wanderers at Old Trafford as United look to keep pace with leaders Manchester City.

"We still have some longer absences like Darren Fletcher and Tom Cleverley so it has given us a bit of respite to have Paul Scholes back," Valencia told MUTV.

"It is all right talking about three teams but you can't take out Arsenal and Chelsea, so that is why we have to put our foot to the floor and push as hard as we can."

Valencia has himself been forced to provide cover during a defensive injury crisis earlier in the campaign, the Ecuadorian international being deployed in an unfamiliar right-back position.

The 26-year-old is pleased to have been returned to his more natural midfield role, and hopes the squad can steer clear of further injury troubles this term.

"It is really pleasing thinking that we are getting everyone back to full fitness," he added. "It is nice to be back in my favoured position, that I have always played in throughout my career.

"At full-back, going forward is not a problem. Defending is slightly more difficult. There is more pressure because you are playing closer to your own goal.

"You have to be really focused and concentrated to make sure you don't commit an error that can lead to a goal. [But] it is the same for any defender so I have to work hard to stay really sharp because that is area of the field where you get punished."

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Manchester United
Paul Scholes
Antonio Valencia

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