The Dugout - Hoddle: Scholes is the greatest

Thu, 08 Dec 13:17:00 2011

Exclusive: Former England boss Glenn Hoddle has named Paul Scholes as the greatest player in Premier League history.

1998 World Cup England Paul Scholes - 0

Who was your sporting hero as a boy?

Although I was a Spurs fan from a very young age, I suppose my favourite player was George Best - surprise, surprise, he was a lot of people's favourite player at that age.

Watching him at White Hart Lane was just thrilling, there was a buzz about the place when people like him and Bobby Charlton were on the ball. But with George in particular there was just an expectation, even among the Spurs fans, that he would produce something special.

In other sports, I used to love my cricket, and what Ian Botham did at the time with a bat and a ball was quite amazing. He was someone I really respected and thought was a magnificent player. He was almost as good as George Best in his own field.

Who was the most talented player you ever played with?

The most talented player I had the fortune to share a pitch with was Diego Maradona. He was special. He was an absolute genius with the ball. To take a team like Napoli and turn them into winners was an incredible feat. And to win a World Cup virtually on his own - with a little help from his hand, I suppose!

Outside of football, who is the person you most admire and why?

I have never met Nelson Mandela, but I got close to him on a golf day once. I have total respect for what happened in his life and how he coped. The capacity to forgive in life is sometimes a bridge too far for some people, but what he did is an amazing example to everyone.

What player that has graced the Premier League in the past 20 years stands out for you and why?

That's a tough one! I probably need two days to think about that... I'm going to go for the player I called the jewel in the crown of my England team, Paul Scholes.

He was 29 when he retired from international football - do you think he was somewhat under-appreciated in this country?

I think he got appreciation from the coaching staff and his team-mates. Nowadays football has become so glamorous, but on the football side of things Paul was a wonderful, versatile player and an ideal pro to work with. He was such an effective player. He loved playing football and got on with his job with total respect for those around him. He knew he was a good player but he didn't have to shout it from the hilltops. People maybe get carried away with players in the limelight, but for me Paul got recognition from people within the game.

Glenn Hoddle was speaking to Yahoo!'s 'The Dugout' through its partnership with the League Managers Association