Just as Roy Keane was massive to my early development as a professional coach with our cup of tea and subsequent stabilisation of the Manchester United gym culture. Paul Scholes was a light that shone the way to understanding that physical athleticism was not the only key component that made you shine on the pitch along with the obvious skill of football.
When i looked at Paul in comparison with a lot of football athletes he actually came up short. (I am not going into what could have been his shortfalls, that is a subject for my book that may be written at some point ). But what Paul had probably in excess of other stars was his brain, or brain cognition capabilities.
I must say that Paul was actually my favourite player (again later for reasons.) He had such a capacity for peripheral vision, visual field concentration, lightning reaction and reflex capabilities that he was second to none on a speed reaction test that i used to do with the players (I will video that for you real soon).
I brought in a device from Montreal University called the Cognisense Tracker, this devise looks at cognitive processing and peripheral vision and it gives us a score that is downloaded saved and put into a graph.
Paul, although he didn't get the best score on this device, (Gi Sung Park has that), he was 2nd but miles above everyone else for consistency. Having physical endurance capacity in a game is essential, but high degree of endurance from a cognitive standpoint can overcome the biggest of problems match related .
Paul was a great person to coach because he always gave you instant feedback for the work you was doing with him (not always the spoken word!!!) and so I looked far and wide for stimulants to keep him interested and excited about keeping fit mentally and physically for his games.
I finally found a piece of kit that would stimulate his mind and body in such a way that it matched what he did on the pitch. I brought Paul to see the Fitlight system and he thought it was brilliant, in fact he brought his 2 kids Aaron and Alicia to use it as well. We had some great workouts and fun with the kit and I still use similar activities even now in my coaching.