Paul Scholes is 28, the winner of countless domestic medals and the h
Paul Scholes is 28, the winner of countless domestic medals and the highest scoring midfielder in Sven's current England squad. Ahead of Wednesday's big game against Turkey, he took time out to catch up with TheFA.com
TheFA.com: You've had a few partners in the centre of midfield with England down the years. Steven Gerrard is the latest. How's that partnership going?
Paul Scholes: Steven's a quality player - I know that from playing against him. Most of my career managers have tended to pair me with a more holding player as that provides a good balance with me as I like to get forward.
It's the same with both Steven and Nicky [Butt] in the sense that we know we can't over commit and send both central midfielders forward at the same time. It's just a case of communication and one person sitting in if the other has gone into a more advanced position.
TheFA.com: You mentioned Nicky Butt...you go back a long way with him don't you?
Paul Scholes: It must be coming up to around fifteen years now yeah. We first played together for Oldham Boys when I was about twelve or thirteen. We had played against each other before that but it was good to play alongside him. In those days, I was a bit of right-winger as well as a midfielder!
TheFA.com: Brian Kidd is another man you know well from your time together at United. What's it like having him as a coach with England now?
Paul Scholes: Yeah, I'd say Brian has been one of the really big influences in my career. It was him that spotted me when I was about twelve and asked me to come to United in the first place so to now work with him again for England is great.
TheFA.com: Take us back to those early days at United. It's not always that easy for a homegrown player to get a chance at such a big club. When did you first start to make an impression at Old Trafford?
Paul Scholes: My first-team breakthrough came in the League Cup. The manager gave a whole load of youngsters the chance to come into the first team for a game against Port Vale. I really wanted to take my chance and thankfully I did, scoring two goals on the night. One was a header and one I picked up from a loose back pass.
That was an important game for me and things have gone from there really.
TheFA.com: Then came the call from England. Have you adapted your game much for the international stage?
Paul Scholes: Not too much to be honest. My game is based a lot on instinct anyway plus I'm very much a believer that if you're doing something well for your club then that's what you should be looking to reproduce for your country.
TheFA.com: What has been the highlight of your international career so far?
Paul Scholes: Scoring a hat-trick against Poland and twice against Scotland have been my personal highlights for England but I hope that I'll be able to look back on having won something with my country because that's what it's all about.
TheFA.com: You are 28 now and have a good few years ahead of you but do you ever think about what you want to do after you finish playing?
Paul Scholes: I try not to. The most important thing from my perspective is to fully concentrate on my game for both United and England. That's my priority.
TheFA.com: That said, you are a relatively experienced player both in the international game and the Premier League. Who do you regard as your toughest opponents?
Paul Scholes: There are so many good players! Patrick Vieira obviously stands out as one of the best in his position. He's got most things to his game and is always a tough opponent. Steven Gerrard's another one - you know you need to be at your best when you come up against him so it's good to have him on my side for England.
I also think Kieron Dyer is an excellent player. With his pace and ability to get forward, I am not sure there are too many better than him in the world.
From Daniel Freedman