Paul Scholes explains what it was like playing with Jaap Stam at Man Utd

George Boateng, Jaap Stam and Paul Scholes

Jaap Stam's long-awaited return was a big talking point ahead of Manchester United's FA Cup showdown with Reading on Saturday aftenoon.

Now manager of the Royals, the 44-year-old spent three trophy-laden years at Old Trafford before joining Lazio in 2001 for £16 million.

And while returning to the stadium where he won the treble in the 1998/99 season should have been exciting for Stam, it seems he was more looking forward to facing Jose Mourinho.

He told BBC Radio: "I like the way he works and what he does for the team - he gets things going.

"I've spoken to him a couple of times and he's a great manager. I admire all the success he has had and the trophies he's won.

"Hopefully I can be up there as well at some point, but I still have a long way to go. It is good to play against managers like that because you can learn something."

Much has been made of Stam's unceremonious departure from United recently, with a falling out with Sir Alex Ferguson resulting in a move to Lazio.

But there can be no doubting the Dutchman's status as a club legend, with Paul Scholes explaining on BT Sport what he was like to play with.

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Speaking ahead of the game - you can watch a video HERE - the former midfielder revealed how Stam was relatively quiet but a "real animal" on the football pitch.

"He was very quiet off the pitch, very quiet in the dressing room," Scholes said, "but once he got on the pitch you knew he meant business.

"He wasn't somebody you wanted to cross, he was a real animal on the pitch."

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Scholes also discussed Stam as a manager, saying: "I like the way he's gone about his coaching career. I think he spent a couple of years at Ajax and got a good grounding with the youth team.

"He's come over here, taken a tough job at Reading and he's doing a really good job."

Stam's return to Old Trafford ended in a 4-0 defeat following goals from Wayne Rooney, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford (2).

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