Wayne Rooney names the best footballer he played alongside
"He was the one player who had that game-management."
Wayne Rooney has named the best footballer he played alongside, and it must have been a difficult task.
The former England captain played alongside some world class players during his 13 years with Manchester United. Roy Keane was still at the club when Rooney joined in 2004, he watched Cristiano Ronaldo develop from inconsistent winger to world player of the year and saw Ryan Giggs reinvent himself as a central midfielder.
However, according to Rooney, Paul Scholes was a step above the rest of his former teammates.
"Scholesy is the best I've played with," Rooney told talkSPORT recently.
"He was the one player who had that game-management, and the mind which would have allowed him to go and play anywhere. He could put his boots on now and still play, I'm sure. He was that good. If (England) we'd used him a bit more in his right position he could have certainly influenced a lot more games."
When Giggs was asked who was the best footballer he played alongside, he opted for Ronaldo rather than Scholes, but many greats of the game have singled out the former United midfielder for praise.
Xavi, the former Barcelona midfielder, called Scholes a "role model."
"For me, and I really mean this, he's the best central midfielder I've seen in the last 15, 20 years. I've spoken to Xabi Alonso about him. He's spectacular, he has it all - the last pass, goals, he's strong, he doesn't lose the ball, vision. If he'd been Spanish he might have been rated more highly. Players love him."
While Zinedine Zidane called Scholes his "toughest opponent."
Rooney also claimed that the England national team didn't properly use Scholes before the midfielder retired in 2004. He lamented the team's failure to win a trophy over a decade ago.
"If you look at that team, we were certainly capable of winning a trophy and it didn’t happen. We were unlucky in Portugal  and Germany , going out on penalties in the quarter-finals. If one of those goes the other way, you never what can happen. And if we'd used Paul Scholes better that would have given us a good start."
Nine of the 11 players who started for England in the 2006 World Cup quarter-final defeat to Portugal were Champions League winners, so Rooney is probably justified in thinking they should have performed better.