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How to Play Like Paul Scholes

Paul Scholes, the Ginger Prince, is a simple man and a simple player. But there's a genius in his simplicty.

Paul Scholes
AP Photo

Off the field he's not one to be caught drinking all night at a club or doing an ad for Emporio Armani like his former teammate Cristiano Ronaldo. No, Paul Scholes is a pure soccer player. He's a pro's pro.

Yet underneath this don't want to be in the limelight persona is a player with incredible skills that puts him directly in the spotlight.

Scholes has superb touch and control and reads the game like few others. He's going to go down as one of Manchester United's greatest players. He doesn't just control the ball to control the ball. He has a plan. He's thinking of where can I play the ball next before he gets it.

Just take a look at this video.


Keys to playing like Scholes:

  • Know where you want to play the ball before you get it
  • Ability to shield the ball under pressure
  • Always asks for the ball
  • Endurance: having the fitness so you can get into the attack and also be able to get back and defend
  • Can read the game and know when to keep possession and know when to attack
  • Able to spin and turn away from pressure
  • Can score goals

Learn the secrets of Paul Scholes' ball mastery, from Manchester United's first team coach Rene Meulensteen, in the video below:


Scholes is a player who's anchor on your team and the player you can always count on to be steady and control the tempo. He is the classic midfielder who gets everyone on the team involved.

But again, if you want to play like Paul Scholes you have to play one and two touch soccer and know where you want to play the ball before you get it. How do you do this? This requires playing in as many games as you can play against the best competition. If that means playing against older players then do that.

Scholes checks back to the receive the ball from defenders and acts as an outlet for them to get out of pressure and switch the ball from side to side. He always makes short quick little runs back to the ball offering support. What's important though is Scholes is half turned many times when he receives the ball. In other words, part of him is facing up field so he can see where players are making runs. Players play the ball into his feet and he plays it back or turns out of pressure and moves the ball to the an open area of the pitch.

And Scholes doesn't just switch the ball to switch the ball. He plays those killer diagonal balls, over the top or in behind the last defender.

But he's also a player who gets into the attack and will play sneaky one twos to get around players and shoot or lay the ball off to a teammate.


What sets Scholes apart from other central midfielders though is his ability to play that long ball to players in the wide areas. He can turn and play a forty yard ball right to the players foot.

And for a player who is small in stature, Scholes is strong on the ball and rarely if ever gives the ball away. He's can shield the ball like no other player in the English Premier league.

But Scholes isn't just a passer of the ball and a possession player. He also scores big goals. He gets into the attack and seems to pop up at the top of the box to smash home big goals in big games.


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