What do Paul Scholes and Karl Pilkington have in common?
That’s right: they’re Mancs who both enjoy a good old moan.
Scholes has written a new column for the Guardian in which he’s explained why he prefers non-league football to the Premier League these days.
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The former Manchester United midfielder, who co-owns Salford City alongside four other members of the famed ‘Class of ’92’, has blasted the lack of quality in England’s top division.
“You hear about people saying English football’s the best football there is around,” Scholes comments. “I think Spain’s by far the best league. Germany has better teams. In Italy probably the strength in depth isn’t great. They talk about Italy being a bad league but I don’t think English people look at it.”
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Scholes: Premier League only has three top-class players
Scholes also believes the best players in the world - with the exception of three, who all play for Manchester City - all ply their trade in other leagues.
“The Spanish league’s the best by far if you’re judging on the European competitions. In the quarter-finals of the Champions League and the Europa League in 2015–16, they had six of the 16 teams. Nearly half of them. The Premier League had just two.
“There needs to be a real step up in quality in England. Other than Sergio Agüero, Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva, we don’t have the best players. All the best players are in other countries.
“The best players are in Spain or at Bayern Munich and Juventus. We’re linked with big players – Gareth Bale is a top player – but we don’t get them now. Not any more. You never see a Lionel Messi coming over here, you never see a Neymar in the Premier League.”
No mention of Pogba or Zlatan - this might explain why
It’s interesting that Scholes doesn’t name any players from the Manchester United team, including Jose Mourinho’s two star summer signings, Paul Pogba - whose £89 million transfer from Juventus broke the world transfer record - and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Scholes was sceptical about both signings, which might provide an explanation.
“We don’t know about Zlatan. He is 34 and probably going to play only for a year. Okay, he is a fit lad,” the 41-year-old was quoted as saying by Goal in July. “I think with Ibrahimovic it is, he was playing in a team of PSG and they created a lot of chances. It was easy for him to score goals in that league.
“This Manchester United team isn’t as good as the PSG team. It might be in time to come. He is going to have to do more for himself in the Manchester United team. More than he did at PSG.”
And around the same time, Scholes was quoted as saying that Pogba wasn’t worth a world record transfer fee.
"He was a very talented young player, I played with him and I knew how good he was," he was quoted as saying by Sky Sports.
"I just don't think he is worth £86m. For that sort of money, you want someone who is going to score 50 goals a season like Ronaldo or Messi. Pogba is nowhere near there yet."
Are Sergio Agüero, Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva really the only top-class players in the Premier League? Have your say by leaving a comment below.