Sunday, August 22, 2010

X-rated Tackler

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Arsene Wenger has launched an attack on the “dark side” of Paul Scholes.

The Arsenal chief hailed Scholes as one of the best players in the history of the Premier League, but also claimed his X-rated tackles meant he was “not a fair player”.

Wenger’s stinging assessment of Scholes will not impress Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, who has been singing the praises of his veteran midfielder all week.

Scholes caused controversy on Monday night after being booked for a bad challenge on Newcastle’s Kevin Nolan, while the former England midfielder has had several flare-ups with Arsenal down the years.

Wenger said: “You ask me about the quality of the player, who wouldn’t like a Paul Scholes in his team?

“You ask me was he a fair player? I say no. I’m sorry, for me he was not a fair player.

“How many times have you watched Paul Scholes? Have you seen only fair tackles from him? I don’t want to come out on one specifically, but I can remember a few.

“Look at him playing now, he still doesn’t hide. I just feel overall he is a guy who likes his tackle. Unfairly, of course, unfairly. It all depends on what you call clever and dirty.”

Arsenal have been involved in some brutal clashes with Manchester United, including the so-called Battle of Old Trafford when Ferguson’s men ended the Gunners’ 49 game unbeaten run and also the 2004 FA Cup semi-final.

Wenger also praised Scholes, and added: “I believe Scholes is still one of the greatest football players in England and his contribution to the success of Manchester United is absolutely huge.

“He does not run after the media to be in the papers, which I respect a lot, but there’s a little bit of a darker side in him, sometimes. That I do not like.”

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