Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Paul Is Jewel in Our Crown

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Paul Is Jewel in Our Crown

Article excerpt


AS you can imagine, the England dressing room in the Olympic Stadium was a vibrant place in the wake of our 2-0 win over Greece.

The manager was very happy.

He doesn't tend to be one for long speeches and this was no exception. He just thanked us for the three points and told us to go away and enjoy our holidays.

"You've earned it," he said.

I thought he was spot-on there.

Everybody in the squad has worked hard in the couple of weeks we've been together in England, Spain and Greece.

It's been a successful period and I've enjoyed it.

One of the important things is that, by the time the games arrive, everyone knows their job.

I thought we had things under control for most of the match last night and I was surprised Greece didn't show more enterprise.

I thought they would try and pressurise us at the back but it looked to me as if they would have been pleased with a 0-0 scoreline.

We didn't really open them up that often in the first half and, at the beginning of the second, they had a chance and that seemed to change the atmosphere for a bit.

The crowd came to life, the firecrackers and flares began to fly around a bit but then up popped Johnny-on-the-spot Paul Scholes again and that drew the fire out of the home fans.

It's incredible how many times Scholesy has done it, both for club and country.

I've said for a couple of years that he is the jewel in our crown.

We've got some outstanding young players like Steven Gerrard in the squad now but the little man is worth his weight in gold the way he comes up with vital goals.

In that respect, he reminds me of Bryan Robson although I happen to think that Paul has got even more to his game than the former England skipper.

He doesn't say much but his performances for England and Manchester United speak volumes.

As it turned out, apart from the missile-throwers, it wasn't a particularly hostile atmosphere. I was surprised at the size of the crowd but it seems that international football in Greece is not regarded in the same way as the club scene. …

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