The return of Paul Scholes will no doubt be a massive boost for Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson as he faces the unenviable task of keeping his players fresh and fit for the remainder of the season.
Ferguson has the dilemma of keeping players fit and ready for their FA Cup replay with Chelsea, which takes place two days after their game at the Stadium of Light - and the return of Scholes can only offer the gaffer some relief.
It certainly isn’t the first time the wily Scot has had to juggle his ever-impressive squad during a congested fixture schedule; however, the return of a player of Scholes’ ability and experience could prove pivotal as the Red Devils try to keep their hopes of a league and cup double alive.
But with Scholes’ future in doubt as he still hasn’t signed a new contract at the club, could this be the former England superstar’s final swan-song with the club?
The 38-year-old has shown over the past year he can still change games at the drop of a hat, and since his return from retirement last January, the Old Trafford faithful have witnessed their Ginger Prince rekindle his earlier career form and roll back the years with some stunning performances.
Manchester United’s talisman Robin van Persie endorsed Scholes’ influence after the clubs early season 3-2 win over Southampton by saying: "anything can happen with his quality". The deadly Dutchman believed he should have been named man of the match which is quite an accolade seeing as the striker scored all three goals in the tricky encounter.
His simply staggering passing range and accuracy have kept the team ticking over for close to two decades now, and his ability to change the team's attack with stunning long-range passes has resulted in the midfielder picking up a rather appropriate nickname of the ‘sat-nav’.
Scholes now sits in third place in Manchester United’s all-time appearance list, taking to the field a 716 times, including 576 starts. Only Sir Bobby Charlton and fellow golden oldie Ryan Giggs have amassed more club appearances.
I don’t think anyone would be too surprised should he decide to retire; however, if he feels he can still play at the very top level of English football and his health is up to it, we could yet see one more season from the majestic midfielder.
One thing is for sure: Scholes is already a legend for the club and no matter what his decision will be, he will certainly go down as one of United’s all-time greats and will be sorely missed by the club, its fans and football enthusiasts around the world.
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