9 Apr 2012

Alan Hansen: Man United star is 'player of the year'. Agree?

Liverpool legend Alan Hansen has taken time out from his ceaseless criticism of Manchester City to praise the impact of Man United midfielder Paul Scholes, who, at the age of 37, has seemingly inspired United to yet another league title.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Hansen - who antagonised Alex Ferguson earlier in the season by claiming United hadn't played well for 18 months - entehused:

"He may have played only 14 games, but Scholes is my Player of the Year. Calm, assured, magnificent on the ball and someone who everyone at Old Trafford will look at before an important fixture and say: ‘He is someone you can trust.’

"That’s what it all comes down to when the going is toughest. Being able to trust your team and having players who trust each other. That is why United are going to be champions again and the agonising wait for those City fans will linger on".

Scholes' impact cannot be denied:

* Prior to Scholes' arrival, United had lost two league games in a row, and were 3 points behind Man City in the table.

* Since his arrival, Scholes has made 12 premier league appearances, and United have 11 of those games, with the other being a draw.

* United are now 8 points clear of City, and the title is in the bag.

It makes me sick to admit it, but Scholes has been fantastic for United since his return. Contrast this with Liverpool's results since Steve Gerrard returned from injury, and it's not a pretty picture:

* Liverpool have failed to win 10 out of 11 Premier League games.

* That's 5 defeats, 5 draws and only 1 victory.

I'm not suggesting Liverpool's poor form is Gerrard's fault; clearly, there are plenty of other players in the squad who are more culpable than him. However, Liverpool's captain hasn't been able to inspire the club to do better in league games, and for me, that's a slight concern.

Jaimie Kanwar


  1. Coupled with having 4 wingers who can score and create! 

  2. valencia for me has been there best player,he doesn't over complicate his play with step overs etc but always beats his man.plenty of pace,can score goals and has a great delivery.
    but having said that he's no stewart downing...

  3. Scholes has made big impact after his return but Van Persie is the player of the year and i don't think anybody even comes close to him this season.

  4. Van Persie is my player of the year this season. Carried a team single handed.

  5. i hate the manures but i like the old man.. he's good. Pity liverpool dont hve one like him, calm everywhere and penetrative when required.

  6. Scholes is the best english midfield player of his generation when it came/comes to running the tempo of a match with simplicity of passing and game intelligence. When he played for England, he was shafted out to the left to accommadate lampard and gerrard. He retired not long after. Both lampard and gerrard could never run a game from midfield. Both cant play in midfield. They are/were best utilised further up the park. Scholes is like Xavi. Demands the ball and runs the game. 

  7. Yes. no one ever can be comparable with scholes in EPL. unfortunately, 'they' will not give him EPL player of the year cos he is not talky out of the field.

  8. I agree that Scholes has been great this season for Manu, but that does highlight IMO how weak their midfield is these days.......

    As for Gerrard and us....i think its a different situation to that of Manu, i don't think Manu have had similar problems to us, Gerrard has tried to get the team playing better, but i don't think even he can force other players to put in a shift if they don't want to.

    The game against Villa, just about most of our chances were created by Gerrard, and i don't see Fergie asking Scholes to play out on the right......

    I must admit Jamie i agree with a lot of what you say, but Gerrard for me is a player who i can relate to completely, im not sure what it is that you don't like about him, he and Carra are proper legends at the Club and tbh if i was Gerrard i would have left LFC a long time ago not for fame or glory, but for my own peace of mind......

    LFC did not deserve to have such a fine player and still doesn't IMO....the way he has been rounded on constantly whenever his performances do not live up to the high standards he has.....is typical of how ungrateful the fan base is of his talents....

    The fact that everyone seems to know his best position is laughable, he must laugh at that, i know i would, his loyalty to the Club in the face of much indifference by the fanbase over the years is testament that he is a true Liverpool legend, beyond that of most legends IMO because of the shit he has had to endure, unlike Kenny etc who had a fine team to play with......and many Cups along the way...

    If Gerrard had gone to Manu when Fergie was eyeing him, Manu would have probably won even more silverware and for sure they would have upped their European Cups tally.....FFS they have had Carrick, Fletcher Anderson etc all inferior players to Gerrard IMO yet they have picked up many medals.....

    Im not saying Gerrard is above criticism....i am saying that we should appreciate how good a player he stills is, and we should be asking questions about why our team of players is usually so crap in comparison....

    Mourinho to his credit is a big admirer of Gerrard, his comments re Gerrard reveal and understanding of the player and his position at this club over the years, he knows Gerrarrd could have made it at any team in Europe, he would have snapped him up if he could....he therefore acknowledges his loyalty to LFC, even though he can't understand it......when its been holding him back for years.........................

  9. Septimus_severus4:02 pm, April 09, 2012

    I don't CARE what Alan Hansen says about Manchester United.

    The reason being is that he is DISHONEST with his  FRIEND Kenny Dalglish.
    I read and saw Hansen say some truly awful things about Hodgson and Benitez.
    YET he doesn't say a WORD about the appalling run we are on.
    The poor players bought,lack of tactics.

    Again great player not so good pundit as he isn't even handed.

  10. Day by day I'm losing lots of respect for some of our red ex players. Some which I idolised b4. I mean why him and lots of our ex players don't shut the f••• up instead of praising that team and their players and their mngr.At the end of the day we have our club to worry about. It just pisses me of when I hear that some of our great players praising them.

  11. Also Gerrard needs better players around him. B4 he was playing with players like Alonso, Torres, Mascherano now he's playing with Adam, Spearing, Caroll. I think Gerrard is one of the best players to ever play in PL. even Messi and Maradona would struggle in this Liverpool team.

  12. I think Stevie G has been far too reckless in terms of gaining defensive and possession control in midfield to be a consistent top two-man central midfielder in his career. Far too gung-ho. He has never really been able to consistently control a game like Scholes, Xabi, etc, have done in a two-man central midfield, in terms of ensuring the team has control of the midfield. Doesn't play with enough 'tact' and 'patience' in a two-man central midfield and it has cost us this season quite a bit. Of course, a Roy of the Rovers performance now and then he does do really well, in central midfield as seen against a weak Everton side at Anfield but in terms of consistency of control (defensively and possession) in midfield, that has always been major flaw in a two-man central midfield. Always at his best behind the front man or on the right wing. The days of the stereotypical English box-to-box central midfielder are over tactically as illustrated by Rafa's change of Stevie G. 

    Spearing has his limitations but he isn't helped by having to play alongside the tactically reckless Gerrard/Adam in a two-man central midfield, with their hollywood mentality.Sometimes you have the try to run/dictate the midfield, not the whole show. The latter ('whole show') can be at the detriment of the midfield, offensively and defensively. That has always been Stevie's problem in central midfield.The way the likes of Scholes, Xabi, Pirlo, Xavi, etc, run the midfield is how it should be done at. Patient orchestration helps defensively as well as offensively. Even our ex-player, Danny Murphy, has showed the way to run a midfield in a similar manner, albeit to a lesser degree, during his time at Fulham, with his patient knitting of possession with very little gung-ho attitude about his play. As illustrated with the way Fulham did so well in Europe a while back and have been generally a good side during Murphy's time there, in the league. I have really enjoyed watching Danny play at Fulham. Really is a lovely subtle player to watch in central midfield.  The central midfield at Swansea are the same too. They are patient and keep the ball well, even if it isn't gung-ho or as penetrative as Stevie's can be. That is one of the reasons why Swansea are so good at the possession game and its not easy to win at their place. They have some of the best possession stats in Europe, especially their central midfield. That is what Scholes, combined with Carrick, has brought to that Manure side. A real calmness to their side that helps them defensively. The over-hyped Cleverley and Anderson were too gung-ho as a central midfield pairing for them but since Carrick and more importantly, Scholes returned to their side, they have been very composed. Grrrr.---Anyhoo, RVP player of the year for me comfortably. Still can not believe that he hasn't missed many league games this season, as he normally has done. Stuttering just a little at the moment by the standards he has set this season but overall, has been a brilliant goalscorer in a side that has had its problems.

  13. I disagree Chan re your comments on Gerrard, you go back to how Rafa illustrated Gerrarrds ineffectiveness as a CM by playing him on the right and then in the hole, heck even on the left.....

    BUT.....that also illustrates a manager IMO who wanted to prove a point.....to spite Gerrard, by making sure that the general consensus was about how good he was on the right....or in the hole and what a total and utter genius Rafa was for changing his position....

    PLEASE...ask yourself this question....What could Gerrard do when asked to play on the right??? He could have played poorly.....could have tried to confront the manager......but he didn't.....he went out to prove that he could and would play where he was asked.....and do it better than any other player in the squad could....

    Same goes when he was asked to play in the hole.....he made it his own.....NOT because he was more suited to that position buit for his love of the Club and respect for the manager.......

    Sadly, now most of you's have taken this and done exactly what Rafa wanted which was to negate his role as a CM.....and not just any old CM but the best one in the country.....if not the world........

    Are you seriously going to suggest that Spearing is good enough to partner Gerrard in CM???

    C'mon man, thats just nonsense, Spearing is a good squad player/fill in, but he aint at the level to play for a top 4 side.....is he???? But Gerrarrd is.......

    Again, is say, Gerrard should have left this Club long before he was  fcuked with by Rafa and then surrounded by players not fit to lace his boots.....

    Had Rafa given Gerrard a chance to really prove himself as CM he would have done, and then he would have been played for England as CM instead of them parrot like following Rafa's genuis....


  14. I never said or implied Spearing was good enough to be played alongside in a two-man central midfield alongside Gerrard. I said/implied that even though Spearing has his limitations, his work in the middle is made harder by having to play with the tactless Adam or Gerrard in a two-man central midfield. Where in that does it imply that Spearing is a worthy top 4 XI player or is good enough for us....nowhere at all.

    I generally disagree with your post regarding Gerrard. You are rather fixated with the Rafa period, he did play central midfield before Rafa came in, did he not. 

    For whatever reason, you seem to have a particular bias against Rafa which maybe is clouding your judgment (just my opinion) or maybe I have intepreted things wrong. If so, apologies.

    Prior to Rafa coming in, Stevie was never really a consistently great in any position, let alone central midfield, even though he was pretty damn good generally. Comparing the long periods where he played in central midfield (as he did play there well before Rafa came in) to that of periods where he was used on the right or behind the striker, he was comfortably better consistently and a top player in the latter positions, not central midfield. Simply too lawless and reckless in central midfiled for me, tactically, is Stevie.

    He is a great player. A consistently great right-sided player. Consistently great behind-the-striker player. But for me, he was and is not a consistently great two-man central midfield player. 

    To suggest he would be the best central midfielder if Rafa hadn't move him elsewhere is just simply speculation, questionable theory, question marks, ifs and buts. Respectfully, your opinion is full of this, I'm afraid and does nothing to convince me to change my opinion. I'd rather base my opinion on what he has actually done, rather what he could have done. 

    That is my opinion, just like you have your opinion. Neither may not be necessarily to factual. If you happen to disagree with my opinion, fine. Agree to disagree. I'll respectfully say no more on this with you, as I'm sure neither of us wants to go round in circles. Cheerio.

  15. “When I was director of football at Real Madrid I had to evaluate the players coming through the youth ranks. We had some who were very good footballers. They had technique, they had athleticism, they had drive, they were hungry.But they lacked what I call knowing-how-to-play-football. They lacked decision making. They lacked positioning. They didn’t have the subtle sensitivity of football: how a player should move within the collective. And for many, I wasn’t sure they were going to learn.You see, strength, passion, technique, athleticism, all of these are very important. But they are a means to an end, not an end in itself. They help you reach your goal, which is putting your talent at the service of the team and, by doing this, making both of you and the team greater.In situations like that, I just have to say, Gerrard’s a great footballer, but perhaps not a great player.”

    The great Arrigo Sacchi

  16. Well, i do disagree, i respect your opinion but it does grate me, i am aware that Gerrard played centrally before Rafa, im also aware why your opinion is as it is......

    Suffice to say, playing Gerrard on the right is compromising his all round talents.....so is playing him the hole IMO, though of course we know he can play there....

    Gerrard has all the requirements of an oustanding CM, he's got the vision, the presence (very important...) the build, the engine, the drive, can pick a pass, can strike from distance, can track back and cover, has pace, natural game intelligence, you name it he has it.

  17. Nice quote....but i think Gerrard has proved his discipline and positioning etc, just look at how he plays on the right......

    Then look at how he plays in the hole.......

    Now, these are 2 very different positions.....each one requires the right decision making...positioning, subtlety and sensitivity of football and how to move with the collective......

    IF he has the ability to be a great player on the right and in the hole which both require discipline etc as has been discussed then IMO he would have also been as good if not better in the centre.....

    So......i dissagree with Arrigo Sacchi, he has not watched as many LFC games as me, thats for sure.....i base my opinions on what i think.....not what others might think, no matter who they are...

  18. You're just a KD basher. If only you had been more objective, your posts would have been more credible.

  19. Rafa benefited from Houllier's team. But when he fell out with the owners, he started to dismantle the team. Rafa could not even hold on to the Inter job. I'm not sure if we need a vindictive manager.

  20. Septimus_severus8:24 pm, April 09, 2012

    Beef I support LFC NOT KFC live with it 

  21. I would agree very much indeed with Hansen. I always respected and appreciated Scholes' talent, passion and personality. He's hardly the "new man" flooding footy with watches, cars, babes, tv's in your bathroom and all that shit. I gather he's an ordinary bloke who spend a day off watching Oldham play with his son. He's been absolutely tremendous for the Mancs and in terms of talent and quality I hold him as high in regard as I do our very own Gerrard.

  22. Gerrard hasn't been able to inspire the team to better because yet again he's surrounded by a pile of shite, and Dalglish has decided to play him in a withdrawn role for whatever reason while Henderson & Kuyt have been given the freedom to roam around with no effect.
    Scholes has been good, but he doesn't have to force things in trying to win games. He can just keep things simple and depend on his teammates to do their jobs in converting possession into wins.

    On the other hand, even after all these years and his inevitable decline, Gerrard still remains out best player. That is a problem. And it isn't Gerrard's fault. Gerrard has been playing a more controlled/passive game this year, and it has just seen his stats slip backwards (like Scholes who used to score frequently also) but without any of his teammates picking up the slack, as happens at Man U.

  23. Gerrard has never been accommodated for England - he's been shunted all around midfield to take advantage of his 'flexibility', but England have rarely taken advantage of the fact that he was the best attacking midfielder in England.

  24. Scholes doesn't inspire he just plays football! Which Gerrard needs to do like against Everton where he didn't force his game and on Saturday, leave him on the RW he his the only player capable of crossing a ball consistently and will have more of an impact.

  25. Go and see a shrink. Your negative obsession with KD is laughable.

  26. Keeping it simple like Scholes does isn't easy and is more important than trying to force the issue all the time.

  27. we do, he is called gerrard, but years of carrying the team is going to wear you out. honestly, if he said this summer that he wanted to try to win the league elsewhere, i would shake his hand with no animosity whatsoever. god bless him for what he has had to shoulder over the years!

  28. Aberration. Watch him now play for England. No!

  29. >95% pass completion rate, how does this JUST show how weak their midfield is?! Wont we all want players with that kind of completion rate AND scoring threat, seriously?

  30. Who said keeping it simple is easy (aside from everybody talking about how useless Henderson is...)? How is keeping it simple more important than making the decisive actions on the pitch though?? 

    Anyways, keeping it simple in Man U's midfield is definitely easier than carrying the attack from midfield in a team devoid of matchwinners.

  31. Thank God he is no Stewart Downing!!!!! The most overrated English player in generations!! £20million, 31 league games - 0 Goals + 0 Assists!!! In fact in all competitions he's only got 2 assists + 1 goal..... what a fantastic return!!

    Antonio Valencia, 21 league games - 4 goals + 12 Assists

  32. You ask me Gerrard deserves a league title. One of the best Midfielders the last 10 years to never lift the trophy... will be a sad end to such a players career. I just can't see him ever leaving Liverpool, his heart is in it too much.

  33. Liverpool fans respect KD too much to not realise he is doing a poor job at Anfield. Hodgson was sacked for less!

  34. What i meant by that comment, was that Scholes is now how old? I mean its not like he's anywhere near his prime, i know he's still cutting it but i've watched Manu this season and they have looked quite ordinary at times, if not for Scholes (and Giggs) im sure they would not be in the position that they are in atm.....

    Hence the comment that it highlights how weak their midfield is without Scholes....

    Fergie keeps his team well drilled re pass and move etc, thats become a trademark for Manu over the years but if i was a fan i would be worried that they are having to rely on a 37 year who came out of retirement in order to help them out....

    Maybe the remark came across as a bit flippant, Scholes is a great player for sure, as is Giggs, but without those 2 Manu would struggle IMO, City have gifted them the league in many respects, unless Manu flop in the run in its a done deal that they will win another title.

    Consider also the fact that Chelsea, Arsenal and ourselves have seriously underperformed, a 95% pass completion rate is impressive, and for sure we are nowhere near that....

  35. Obviously the plan was to have Cleverly, Anderson and Fletcher available in their central midfield, so with all those fit and fighting than I doubt Scholes would've been missed too much.

    Also, Valencia, Nani & Young are all capable of carrying out Gigg's role, so no, the team wouldn't struggle without those two.

    Give Man U some credit anyway - City haven't handed them the title, they've gone out and taken it. Again. In spite of clearly having the inferior squad.

  36. 'force the issue ALL THE TIME'

    That is what I said, I never said they should never try to do it sometimes. 

    I'm saying/implying they shouldn't do it a lot.That is what Adam and Gerrard try to do. They try to do it a lot and it comes at the expense of actually controlling the game properly and lets the opposition having a better chance of winning the ball back as it can lead to possession turnover more as seen against Bolton. No one is saying killer balls/killer run forwards/movement aren't vital but its not vital to try do it a lot. It is tactically naive and reckless to do it a lot.Danny Murphy keeps it rather simple in a team like Fulham and is very effective at it. So too the central midfield boys (e.g. Allen) at Swansea and they are doing very well, as they have a great system of playing it simple. Whilst Gerrard/Adam play in a side that is theoretically better than those teams. So puh-leez don't bring out the violins and go on about how Stevie is a pauper. If Stevie actually played in a more patient manner, we might have done a better job in the last 20 minutes against QPR. Not saying its his fault solely but he is one of a few factors of our terrible form.

  37. Gerard is bringing the team down.His leadership is pathetic,his influence on a game is very very poor.Scholes ran rings around him twice this year.He would not get near any top four team in prem.Yet he could captain England,people forget how bad he was in South Africa and he was captain.Managers have come and gone fortunes spent building teams around Gerrard when in fact the problem could well be Gerrard.Please read Alan Hansens latest article it does not paint a pretty picture of Gerrard.

  38. If anyone is interested, there is a new article on Guardian's website about Gerrard by Jonathan Wilson, a guy who has written one of the best  football tactics book ever. Not of one of his classic articles but still a decent one.


    'The question: is Steven Gerrard good for Liverpool'