Ferguson optimistic Scholes will play on

LONDON - Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson thinks he has persuaded 36-year-old midfielder Paul Scholes to delay his retirement plans to play another year.

Scholes helped United win a record 19th Premier League title last weekend, coming on as a substitute in the 1-1 draw at Blackburn Rovers, and the club has been keen for him to stay on.

Asked whether Sunday's last league match of the season against Blackpool would be Scholes' last at Old Trafford, Ferguson told a news conference on Friday: "I don't think so.

"We've discussed it and I've encouraged him to stay on another year. We'll talk at the end of the season."

United chief executive David Gill had said last week that the club were unsure whether Scholes would follow 37-year-old midfielder Ryan Giggs in signing a new one-year deal.

Scholes has previously spoken of his frustration of becoming a bit part player at the club where he has spent his entire career but he has nevertheless featured in some key matches this term as United booked their place in the 2011 Champions League Final.

While he is unlikely to get more than a bench place for the May 28 European showpiece against Barcelona at Wembley, he has another match to look forward to where he will get the chance to relive some of his best days.

He will take to the field with the likes of David Beckham, Nicky Butt, Phil Neville and other members of United's "class of 92" crop of successful youngsters for Gary Neville's testimonial against Juventus on Tuesday.