Cantona to make United return in Scholes testimonial

Manchester United legend Eric Cantona has confirmed he will return to Old Trafford on 5th August to coach the New York Cosmos against his old club in a testimonial match for the recently retired Paul Scholes.

Cantona played an integral role in establishing United as the dominant force in the Premier League era, winning four league titles and two domestic doubles prior to his shock retirement in 1997.

The Frenchman’s phenomenal achievements have gone down in United folklore, and his much-anticipated return is likely to further stoke fan interest in a match which already allows the club to pay tribute to one of its greatest ever home-grown talents.

"I wish to congratulate Paul for such an incredible career at Manchester United and I am looking forward to returning to Old Trafford in my new role with the New York Cosmos," Cantona told reporters.

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was also effusive in his praise of Scholes, who will continue to be involved with the club in a coaching capacity.

"The accolades he's received have been well deserved but for me Paul is one of those players who turns up and plays his football, and it is that natural ability that makes Paul unique and revered by many, including myself,” said the Scot.

"Paul's retirement was typical of the man, low-key, he was safe on holiday just so he could avoid any media interviews.

"However he won't be able to hide away this time and it will be fantastic for the fans to be able to bid farewell to this exceptional footballer.”

Scholes himself, meanwhile, is relishing the prospect of signing off an illustrious playing career in front of an adoring Old Trafford crowd.

"This is going to be a big night for me and my family but one which I intend to enjoy and I will savour every moment," said Scholes. "I have spent my whole footballing life at Manchester United, so this will be an emotional farewell.

"This club is special in many ways but the fans are the best and I have always appreciated their support throughout my career.

"I hope they enjoy the night, especially seeing the Boss [Sir Alex Ferguson] and Eric battling it out in front of the dug outs."

By Liam Twomey