Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes admits he considered a move to Everton after deciding to come out of retirement in 2012.
The ex-England international hung up his boots in 2011 after a 16-year stay at Old Trafford and he rejected requests from Sir Alex Ferguson to extend his career.
However, after taking four months off, Scholes said he was feeling the fittest he had felt in years and he was keen to get back in the game after working with United’s under-23s.
Though Scholes wanted to return to his former club, he didn’t for one second believe that Ferguson would want him back after seven months out of the game at the age of 36.
Scholes spoke to those closes to him and it was then that Everton skipper Phil Neville asked him to move to Goodison Park.
Scholes would go on to speak to Mike Phelan and eventually Ferguson about returning to Old Trafford and the Scot was happy to give Scholes a six-month deal, which meant he didn’t have to make a decision on joining the Toffees.
But Scholes admits he would have broken his record as a one-club man to join Everton had United not agreed to his request to return.
‘I came back in September with Warren Joyce and the U23s and I was training every day,’ Scholes told DAZN.
‘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.’
Scholes was already at United’s training ground most days due to his work with the academy and he had even started training with the first team, though that was only in a coaching capacity.
The legendary midfielder admits he was shocked that Ferguson agreed to re-sign him and Scholes was making his second debut for the club against Manchester City in the FA Cup just a fortnight after agreeing to return.
‘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,’ said Scholes.
‘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.’
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