Paul Scholes produced an incredible backspin assist for England against Italy in 1997

Paul Scholes

This week in 1994, Paul Scholes made his Manchester United debut in a League Cup game against Port Vale.

He started up front and scored both goals in a 2-1 victory.

A few years later, he was playing regularly for United and breaking into the England national side.



In fact, he made his first start for the Three Lions against Italy at Le Tournoi in France.

The mini 1997 tournament featured Brazil, France and Italy but was won by Glenn Hoddle’s England.

In their opening match, they faced Italy.

Ian Wright opened the scoring after 20 minutes with a fine finish with his left foot.

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However, a young Scholes deserves all the credit.

After picking up the ball in the centre of the pitch, Scholes played an incredible 50-yard pass over the heads of legendary defenders, Fabio Cannavaro and Alessandro Costacurta.

What made the pass so special was that Scholes put some backspin on the ping, making it perfect for Wright to hit it first time.

It really is a delight to look back on:

VIDEO: Paul Scholes’ ridiculous pass for Ian Wright

Even many years on, fans enjoy looking back at Scholes’ gorgeous pass.

Paul Scholes
Paul Scholes
Paul Scholes
Paul Scholes
Paul Scholes

Scholes also scored the second goal of the match as he smashed the ball home with his left foot to give England a 2-0 win.

Interestingly, after the match, Hoddle explained how he used Scholes as an ‘inside forward’ against Italy, rather than in central midfield.

“We played with one up [Wright] and two little inside-forwards [David Beckham and Scholes] and it worked a treat,” Hoddle said.

“It takes good players to do that. We’ve worked at this system in training over the last 12 months but until now we haven’t been able to put it into a match situation. 

“This is what this tournament’s all about, looking at new players, new shapes and systems.” 

But even Hoddle probably couldn’t have predicted Scholes would go on to have the incredible career he had.

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