Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has expressed his admiration at the influence of veteran midfielder Paul Scholes on the club’s younger players.
Scholes, who reversed his decision to retire in January, has been an ever-present figure in United’s DHL tour after featuring in all three games
Having signed a new contract in May, he will aim to help his team claw back the title from bitter rivals Manchester City.
Ferdinand told DHLTour2012.com: "'Sat Nav' Scholes has it all – it's a great opportunity for the young players to learn from someone who has honed his craft for years and can still do it at the top level.
"To think he had a period out and can still come back and play is phenomenal. He's a shining light for all the players to look up to. Long may he continue playing!"
The 37-year-old, who despite leaving to manage the reserve team for a short period, still racked up an impressive 21 appearances for the Red Devils, is still very highly rated by his manager.
Sir Alex said: "A year ago, he was coaching my Reserves team. Now he's back playing and everybody attached to United is absolutely delighted because he's such a fantastic player.”
Ferguson has already strengthened his midfield in the form of £17million signing Shinji Kagawa and highly rated youngster Nick Powell but is still widely reported to be expressing interest in more midfield players, most notably, Sau Paulo teenage sensation Lucas Moura, and the Scot admits it will be difficult to replace the Salford-born maestro.
“In the long term, trying to replace Paul is a different issue all together. It's going to be very, very difficult. To replace a great player like that would be hard for anyone.”
However Scholes is widely reported to have not been contacted by England manager Roy Hodgson for his country’s Euro 2012 campaign despite making himself available.
"I wasn't offered the chance,'' the United midfielder said. “It was flattering to be talked about. But I wasn't asked, so it means nothing.''