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Icons Legend of the Week: Paul Scholes

by Al 21. September 2012 09:00

18 years ago today, Paul Scholes made his first team debut, scoring both goals as Manchester United overcame Port Vale in the Football League Cup. A lot has changed in football since but somehow the midfield maestro’s impact on the pitch remains the same – his passing range still unbeatable, the way he dictates games even more masterful and his probing play on the edge of the area still a constant source of goals for the Manchester club.

Though a Salford lad through and through – he was born not far from Old Trafford and on the rare occasions he talks to the TV cameras, does so with a strong Mancunian accent and sharp Northern sense of humour - there’s something distinctly un-English about Scholes.

In a footballing culture that idolises industrious runners and bullish charges forward, the 37-year-old is known for his patient passing play - since returning for Manchester United in January 2012 after a stab at retirement (“he was missing it too much,” says Sir Alex Ferguson) Scholes has maintained a 92.37% pass completion rate, losing possession on average once every 154 minutes.

It’s this sort of measured, elegant movement of the ball that has made champions of Spain and Barcelona – and Scholes may well be the inspiration. “Paul Scholes is a role model,” says the man regarded this generation’s pass-master, Xavi Hernandez. “For me – and I really mean this – he’s the best central midfielder I’ve seen in the last 15, 20 years. If he’d been Spanish he might have been rated more highly.”

Xavi isn’t the only great of the game to rate the Manchester United mainstay. “Scholes is undoubtedly the greatest midfielder of his generation,” argues Zinedine Zidane, while Brazil’s Socrates says: “He is good enough to play for Brazil. I love to watch Scholes, to see him pass, the boy with the red hair and red shirt.” Typically, despite his incredible reputation among his peers, Scholes is quick to play down his own talents: “when [my career is] over I just want to be able look in the mirror and say, well, you were a half-decent player.”

For Scholes’ legion of admirers, that humility is part of what makes him special even beyond his feats on the pitch. “No celebrity bullshit, no self-promotion – an amazingly gifted player who remained an unaffected human being,” says Roy Keane. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger meanwhile suggests: “he [does] not get completely what he deserves as a player because he’s not a media lion. He’s not the one who runs after the media to be in the papers. I respect that.”

There’s a sense that Scholes is a player whose focus is resolutely on the pitch, with little time for the glittering lifestyle that comes with life at the top – a dying breed of footballer, particularly among the English.

Perhaps it should be of no surprise, then, that Scholes’ England career never really took off in the way it should have and ended prematurely, his managers at international level seemingly unable to accommodate a player whose approach to football is arguably more sophisticated than that of the rest of the team. Having guided Manchester United to such success in his time at Old Trafford – the 37-year-old has won 10 Premier League titles, the Champions League twice, 3 FA Cups, 5 Community Shields and 2 League Cups in his 18 years at the club – it’s tempting to wonder what England could have achieved had one coach had the guile to build their team around the dynamic, progressive Scholes rather than his flashier counterparts.

When Scholes lines up against Liverpool tomorrow, he'll make his 701st appearance in United colours (the third highest number after Ryan Giggs and Bobby Charlton). But whatever the outcome of that particular grudge match, his reputation as one of the game's greatest unsung heroes is beyond dispute.

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Copa America Competition! Win an Officially Signed Boot From South America's Finest: Leo Messi

by Finbarr 27. June 2011 10:05

 

The premier football festival of the summer is about to get underway. To coincide with this summer's Copa America in Argentina, Icons are giving away one of the most sought after pieces of footwear in the world today. We're offering an Adidas football boot, officially signed by the greatest player in the world today, Leo Messi, to fans of Icons on Facebook, followers on Twitter and subscribers to our newsletter.

 

All you have to do to is to answer this simple question:

 

Who will win the 2011 Copa America?

 

Email your answers to finbarr@icons.com by July 23rd to be in with a chance of winning. And remember, the winner will be selected from followers of Icons on Twitter, fans on Facebook and subscribers to our newsletter. So what are you waiting for? Good luck!

 

 

Terms and Conditions

Entries must be submitted by July 23rd

Entries must 'Like' Icons on Facebook, sign up for the Icons newsletter or 'follow' Icons on Twitter

A winner will be picked at random from all of the entries

All entrants will be added to the Icons' Newsletter mailing list

The prize will be despatched within 28 days of the competition's close.

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Icons at the World Cup: Fox Soccer Channel promotion

by Dan 13. July 2010 09:28
More people from America bought tickets to this World Cup than any other country and it seems the game has taken off in the US over the past month. We've been providing a fantastic range of prizes to Fox Soccer Channel, who have been broadcasting a post-game show across the US throughout the tournament.

Icons moves home ground

by Dan 11. February 2010 17:29
Like many football teams icons had outgrown its current home. As such we've moved up the hill from our original Camden Town base to a new warehouse in Kentish Town. Our web and email addresses stay the same of course but if you want to come and see us or send us anything our new address is Icons.com, Highgate Business Centre, 33 Greenwood Place, London, NW5 1LB, UK. We also have a new phone number so if you want to speak to Natalie about customer service, or any other member of the team, call us on +44 (0)20 7267 3934. We look forward to hearing from you.

If you want to know what the building looks like, it's like this

,

and no, The Ghostbusters don't work downstairs from us.

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Join the icons.com team

by Dan 4. January 2010 12:06
We've had a good Christmas here at icons.com and hope that all our customers have had a good festive holiday period wherever they are. We've got exciting plans for 2010 with the World Cup coming up and exciting league races predicted in England and Spain.

As such we're looking for a permanent, full time customer service executive. The full job description is posted here. Please email tom@icons.com before Friday January 15th if you think you have what it takes to join our team. We're looking to have the right candidate in place by February 1 so send us your CV straight away.

Good luck

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Merry Christmas from all the team at icons.com!

by Steve 24. December 2009 04:32

Merry Christmas!

Wherever you are in the world, all the team at icons.com would like to wish you a very merry Christmas!  Don't forget, it's the giving and not the receiving that's important at Christmas.  However if you're receiving some signed memorabilia from one of the world's greatest footballers... I'm not so sure... Wink

 

 

Don't forget if you didn't receive the gift you wanted, the famous icons.com January Sale is now live.  Why not pick up a bargain to fend off those January blues!

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About Icons Memorabilia

Welcome to the icons blog, we'll be regularly posting here about what's going on with our star signings and what new products have arrived

We love what we do so we'll also be talking about what's going on in the world of football and sport in general.

We'd really appreciate your feedback and comments too.

Cheers - The icons.com team.

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