Paul Scholes shared the pitch with some truly legendary defenders during his time at Old Trafford.
The best teams of Alex Ferguson’s time in charge were often built from the defence up, with a strong centre-half partnership proving crucial to Manchester United’s success.
Looking back on his former teammates, Paul Scholes revealed which defenders he most enjoyed playing with, naming Rio Ferdinand and Jaap Stam as his two personal favourites.
“My favourites were always Jaap Stam and Rio Ferdinand,” Scholes said on the Webby & O’Neill YouTube show.
“Two demanding centre-halves who freed the rest of the team up. When you’ve got such a big presence at centre-back, it allows your midfield players to go on and score goals.
“It allows the full team to relax and think, ‘If we’re under a bit of pressure, with these players – Jaap Stam or Rio Ferdinand – they’re so strong and so quick, just take the ball off them and you’re back attacking again.’
“That’s how much you relied on them.”
Scholes praised a number of United’s former centre-half partnerships and reiterated the need for the Red Devils to bring in a new central defender when the transfer window reopens.
Scholes admitted that Victor Lindelof has improved in recent weeks but the ex-England international believes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must prioritise the signing of a new centre-half if United are to have any hope of launching a title challenge.
He continued: “You look at the team now. I think Maguire and especially Lindelof who, I haven’t been the biggest fan of, has done OK of late. He’s looked a lot better.
“I still think you need a centre-half. With Eric Bailly, you just don’t know what you’re going to get. He can come in and look great for two games, make a mistake and then he’s injured for the next two months. You’ve no idea what you’re going to get from him.
“If you’re looking at centre-half, it’s that type of Rio Ferdinand, Jaap Stam, Gary Pallister player [that United need].”