Paul Scholes has opened up on the impact that Nicky Butt’s Manchester United departure had on him.
After beginning his career at Man United, Nicky Butt left for Newcastle United in 2004 in a move that left long-time teammate Paul Scholes “devastated.”
Scholes was closest to Butt during the pair’s time at Old Trafford, having both broken through the academy ranks as part of the iconic Class of ’92.
Scholes saw out his career at United – although he almost moved to Everton – and the legendary midfielder had to find a new best friend at his club when Butt left for St. James’ Park.
“It was all part of football. When you start out with those five or six lads you hope that you’ll be there for the next 20 years,” Scholes told DAZN.
“Unfortunately it doesn’t always work out that way. You lose people along the way. Nicky went and Nicky was my best mate – I’d grown up with him since I was 12 or 13. You’re devastated, I really was devastated.”
Sir Alex Ferguson was never afraid to let important players go if the time or price was right and Butt was one such stalwart.
Scholes has given some insight into Ferguson’s transfer strategy and explained how successful the former United manager was when it came to replacing outgoing players.
“Phil Neville went, Roy Keane went, some really big characters,” Scholes continued. “Look players have to go, they might come to a certain age where their legs weren’t quite what they were.
“The manager knew how to get the best out of those players, whether they’d play 20 games a season but he always knew when the time was right for them to go.
“Sometimes the player didn’t always agree with that but that’s what it was all about; changing teams and then the excitement of bringing players in.
“You mention players there like Teddy [Sheringham], [Andy] Coley, [Dwight] Yorkey such brilliant attacking players and [Jaap] Stam – what a top centre half he was.
“He had a system and he just tried to replace the top players he had with other top players who were similar in that position. That’s why it was such a constant continuation of a being a top team.”