How strange would this have been?
Paul Scholes is undeniably one of the greatest ever midfielders to grace the Premier League, proving a vital component in a number of United’s most successful periods.
His ability to control the pace of a game was a joy to behold and we’ll never, ever forgive the England setup for not utilising him properly. The fact that Scholes retired in 2011, only to come back and lead United to another title was testament to that ability.
However it wasn’t always nailed on that the midfielder would return to Old Trafford following his hiatus, as he revealed to DAZN.
In fact, Scholes said conversations with Phil Neville had taken place about the possibility of joining Everton.
“I came back in September with Warren Joyce and the U23s and I was training every day,
“I felt as fit as I’d probably ever had done after having four months off – it was just the break I needed. I said to Joyce that I wanted to play again – I just wanted to play.
“Where it was I don’t care. I didn’t expect United to want me back. I spoke to Phil Neville and he said: ‘Come and play for Everton’.
“I’ve never really wanted to play for anyone else or be involved with any other club but if that was the only option I had then I might have done it, I don’t know.”
Of course though, that didn’t materialise and Sir Alex swooped in to bring back the club legend on a six-month contract, though kept the decision a secret from the rest of the squad until the very last minute.
“The next step had to be Mike Phelan, the assistant manager. I must have spoke to him at half 7 in the morning because I was so nervous the night before waiting to see what he thought and he thought it was a great idea,” Scholes added.
“Then there’s only one more person to get through which was the most important. As soon as I saw Mick I went to see the manager and told him I want to play again.
“I said that I feel fit and I feel okay and [he said]: ‘Do you want to play here or do you want to go somewhere else?’.
“There’s no way I wanted to go somewhere else. He said: ‘Right I’ll sort your contract out’ and that was within 5 minutes.
“He was on the phone to David Gill and I think it was the next day I signed for another six months. And then you think ‘What have I done?!’.
“He brought me into the squad to play Man City in the FA Cup. He told me not to tell anybody and the players had absolutely no idea. My wife knew and I think I might have told my dad but nobody else knew.
“We get to the ground on the Sunday and my kit is there. I actually couldn’t get any boots. They couldn’t know I was playing. If I asked for a real pair from Nike then they’d know something was going on. I went to the local JJB and I think they were £40 at the time which I thought was quite expensive.”
How different things could have been.
Featured image credit: Getty