The legendary Red Devils’ midfielder appeared as a guest pundit on Sky Sports’ coverage of the Manchester derby on Tuesday night and asserted his belief that “United are nothing without pace”.
The treble-winner under Sir Alex Ferguson used the soon-to-be disposed Premier League champions’ victory over Olympiakos in the Champions League last week to make his point about pace, insisting that with Antonio Valencia and Danny Welbeck in David Moyes’ side, the Reds are more dangerous.
“Him [Valencia] and Welbeck is where our pace comes from and without them we’re flat footed,” he explained.
The Ecuadorean winger is widely regarded one of the fastest players in football alongside the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott and Aaron Lennon. Also worth a mention are Barcelona attacker Alexis Sanchez and Manchester City’s summer signing Jesus Navas.
Do United need even more pace in their side if they are to challenge in the races for titles next term?
Wayne Rooney is fast, despite his build, and neither Welbeck nor Javier Hernandez are exactly slouches but Scholes alluded to the seemingly creative lack of United’s play down to the central midfielders (namely Ryan Giggs whom he mentioned specifically) not having enough pace and energy ahead of them to pick out those Hollywood passes Scholes was so famed for.
It was notable how much more energy United appeared to have against the Greek champions at Old Trafford but could a player like Alexis Sanchez be the ideal signing for Moyes this summer to ensure balance on both flanks, effectively giving the opposition’s defence double trouble to deal with?
The technical brilliance of a player like Adnan Januzaj on one flank, for example, and the physical prowess of Valencia on the other in a footrace is exactly the kind of danger that gives fullbacks nightmares and creates space in central areas of the final third for creative players like Rooney and Juan Mata to exploit.