He spent his entire professional playing career with Manchester United, for whom he scored over 150 goals in more than 700 appearances between 1993 and 2013.
Scholes came through the Manchester United youth academy as one of Fergie's Fledglings (a group of players recruited by Manchester United under the management of Sir Alex Ferguson). Scholes made his full debut for Manchester United in the 1994–95 season. He went on to make 718 appearances for United, the third-highest number of appearances by any player for the club. Scholes announced his retirement from playing in May 2011 and was appointed as a coach at Manchester United. However, he returned to playing in January 2012, and went on to play one more season for the club before retiring again in May 2013. With United, Scholes won 25 trophies including 11 Premier League titles (more than any other English player) and two UEFA Champions League titles.
Scholes represented the England national team from 1997 to 2004, gaining 66 caps and participating in the 1998 and 2002 World Cups, as well as the UEFA Euro 2000 and Euro 2004 tournaments. Scholes announced his retirement from international football in August 2004, citing his family life and his club career with Manchester United as being more important.
Regarded as one of the greatest midfielders of his generation, over his career Scholes has received praise from other managers and players, including Xavi, who said in 2014 that Scholes was "the best central midfielder" he had seen in the previous 15 to 20 years, describing him as "a spectacular player who has everything. He can play the final pass, he can score, he is strong, he never gets knocked off the ball and he doesn't give possession away." Pelé said, "If he was playing with me, I would have scored so many more." Thierry Henry cited Scholes as the greatest player in Premier League history.
Scholes was named in the Premier League 10 Seasons Awards (1992–93 to 2001–02) Domestic & Overall Team of the Decade. In 2008, he was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame.
In 2014, it was announced that Scholes, along with fellow Manchester United legends Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt, and Phil Neville, had agreed a deal to purchase Salford City ahead of the 2014–15 season with plans to get the club to the Football League. The group announced they would take part in a special friendly, with Salford facing a Class of '92 team. On 22 September, the group agreed to sell a 50% stake in the club to billionaire Peter Lim.
Having previously informally helped out Nicky Butt with the Manchester United under-19 team during the first half of the 2013–14 season, Scholes agreed to join the United first team coaching staff on a temporary basis after the sacking of David Moyes until the end of the season as a favour to friend and former teammate Ryan Giggs, following the latter's appointment as interim player-manager on 23 April 2014.
On 11 February 2019, Scholes was appointed as manager of League Two side Oldham Athletic, having been cleared to take the position by the English Football League in light of his ownership of Salford City. On 14 March, Scholes resigned as manager, having won once in his seven games, following interference from club owner Abdallah Lemsagam in first team affairs.
On 12 October 2020, Scholes was appointed interim head coach of Salford City, following the departure of Graham Alexander.
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