Football

Paul Scholes hated '11 v 0' training at Manchester United - Evra

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Paul Scholes seems like a pretty docile character to you and me, but, behind closed doors he retains the ability to erupt into a fit of anger when the opportunity arises.

Having played alongside Scholes for much of his eight-year spell at Old Trafford, Patrice Evra certainly saw every side of the legendary midfielder and learned exactly what used to get him riled up.

One such thing was a particularly strange training session that Sir Alex Ferguson's trusted assistant Carlos Queiroz used to swear by, 11 v 0.

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This task required the players to play a match against, well, no one. They still had to pretend like there were players in front of them and go through their usual passing routines as if they were being put under pressure. Sound stupid? Mr Scholes would agree with you.

You see, as Evra explained on BBC Radio 5 Live, this was the one thing that Scholes hated above all else. He even went as far as to hoof the ball away when Queiroz ordered a practice match against the wind.

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Kicking out

Evra, now at Juventus, says the practice is quite common in Serie A, but it has never caught on around Premier League training grounds. We can only wonder why.

"Italian football is different to English football,” said Evra. "It’s amazing the way they make you learn and prepare for the game before you start.

“You do a lot of elevens against zero (in Italy). If you try this in England ... people will say ‘this is crazy!’

“I remember ‘Scholsey’ kicking the ball away when Carlos said ‘ok let’s have a little game’."

Dedicated man

It should be made clear that no one is questioning Scholes' commitment in training. He could not have got that good at passing or shooting without a significant amount of practice.

However, his famously bad slide tackles suggested the former England international paid little attention to the defensive side of the game.

Since retiring in 2013, the likes of Zinedine Zidane and Xavi Hernandez have named him as one of the greatest midfielders of his generation while Thierry Henry said he was the Premier League's best ever player.

If only he could have nailed down that 11 v 0 routine. Think how good he could have been.

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Topics:
Premier League
Manchester United
Football
Paul Scholes
Patrice Evra

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