Man Utd: Paul Scholes' iconic story about coming out of retirement to play Man City

Paul Scholes made his comeback vs Man City in 2012

At the end of the 2010/11 season, Paul Scholes retired from the sport of football and joined Manchester United‘s coaching staff.

The Red Devils had secured yet another league title that campaign and it felt as if was a fitting end for one of the greatest midfielders the English game has ever seen.

But just over six months after calling time on his career, Scholes was back in a United shirt and came off the bench to play in an FA Cup tie against noisy neighbours Manchester City.

The Red Devils were going through a midfield injury crisis in January 2012, so Sir Alex Ferguson turned to the ginger-haired maestro in his time of need.

Scholes went on to play the remainder of the campaign and he then signed a one-year contract extension that saw him through till the end of 2012/13.

It was quite the comeback from the now 46-year-old and the story behind it is absolutely iconic.

Take it away, Paul.

Scholes before his comeback vs Man City

Scholes’ comeback was kept secret by Fergie

“I tell you what, within 30 seconds, the manager was on the phone to David Gill to sort the contract out,” Scholes said on the UTD podcast. “It was quick.

“I carried on training with the Reserves for a week or so. The manager said we wouldn’t tell anyone and would keep it a secret. I was due to play for the Reserves against Newcastle on the Tuesday or Wednesday before City, but it got called off.

“Then I trained with the first team the day before the City game, but I still had my coaches’ kit on with ‘PS’ on. The manager just said ‘come to the hotel and act as if you are a coach’. I don’t know why he didn’t want to tell anyone, I don’t know why it was a big secret.

“The manager told me to come to the hotel, sit with the coaching staff, just have a glass of red wine and stuff the night before the game.”

Scholes comes on vs Man City

Due to the fact the whole thing was kept a secret, Scholes had a bit of a mare with his boot situation for the match against City…

Scholes had to buy ‘snide boots’ to play Man City

“I had to go to the retail park in Oldham to buy a pair of boots, because we couldn’t tell Nike and the coaches’ boots they gave us weren’t great,” the Premier League icon added.

“So I had to go and buy a pair for £50 or £60. Everybody knows then. I get to the ground and then my shirt was hanging up. Danny Welbeck was saying ‘I knew it, I knew, I knew you were coming back’.

“I was just embarrassed, thinking ‘is everybody looking at me and thinking what is he doing?’ So I put my boots on and went out for a warm-up. Jonny [Evans] said to me, ‘are they the cheap boots that you’ve bought – you’ve bought the snide ones’.”

Scholes in action vs Man City

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You won’t find a more unique comeback in football’s modern era, that’s for sure.

Scholes entered the fray versus City that cold January evening in 2012 with his team 3-0 up and cruising.

A brace from Wayne Rooney, a goal from Danny Welbeck and an early red card for Vincent Kompany put United in a commanding position.

Scholes saw a lot of the ball when he came on, but City actually fought back while he was on the pitch and made it 3-2 thanks to strikes from Sergio Aguero and Aleksandar Kolarov.

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United held on for victory, though, and Scholes went on to make a further 20 appearances in all competitions that season, scoring four goals along the way.

Well played, Paul.

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