On Manchester United's recent pre-season tour of the USA, Paddy Crerand was asked to name the greatest player in the club's illustrious history.
Who did the former United player, now MUTV commentator, pick? His fellow 1968 European Cup-winning tem-mates, the iconic George Best or Old Trafford legend and former skipper Sir Bobby Charlton?
What about Denis Law, one of only four United players - Best, Charlton and Cristiano Ronaldo the others - to be crowned European Footballer of the Year? Or United's record appearance holder Ryan Giggs, whose endurance after two decades at the top defies belief?
No, Crerand hailed the greatest player in United's illustrious history as none other than Paul Scholes. Recognised by his peers as the finest player of his generation, Crerand went a step further, declaring Scholes as the best Old Trafford has ever seen.
And at the Community Shield at Wembley last Sunday, it was easy to see why Crerand picked out Scholes, who rolled back the years to produce a masterful display against Chelsea and orchestrate a 3-1 win for Sir Alex Ferguson's side.
It was a timely reminder of Scholes's enduring value to United and why, just three months short of his 36th birthday, he remains arguably the most accomplished midfielder in the Premier League, with his peerless vision and passing ability.
Against younger midfielders like Frank Lampard, Michael Essien and Jon Obi Mikel, and alongside his United team-mate Michael Carrick, Scholes ran the game, spraying inch-perfect long-range passes from his new-found deeper-lying role in the centre of the field.
He may no longer be the box-to-box midfielder who had a knack of ghosting his way into the penalty area late on to plunder goals, as he did in his pomp a decade ago, but the current incarnation of Scholes is no less effective, albeit in a different role.
We will never know whether Scholes would have made a difference to hapless England's dismal showing at the World Cup in South Africa.
Fabio Capello's peculiar decision to get his assistant, Franco Baldini, to call Scholes and ask him to come out of international retirement, rather than pick up the phone himself, was said by the United midfielder to be one of the main reasons he declined the offer.
Another poor judgment call from Capello, who seems to be making a habit of them right now, on the back of announcing David Beckham's international career was over, without first having the courtesy or class to inform the 115-cap former skipper.
But England's loss has undoubtedly been United's gain.
When Scholes retired from international football at 29 after Euro 2004, fed up with being played out of position by Sven Goran Eriksson and with being away from his family for such long periods, he extended his club career by several years.
Had Scholes continued playing international football, with the gruelling demands it places on players throughout a season at the expense of their clubs, it is likely he would no longer be playing for United, his glittering Old Trafford career already consigned to the history books.
But quitting England, along with Sir Alex Ferguson's expert treatment of his older players in rationing their appearances to get the very best out of them, has ensured Scholes, currently on 643 appearances for United and one goal short of 150, is still able to excel.
By his own admission, Scholes thought he would have left Old Trafford by now, replaced by younger, more mobile players, but it is testimomy to his talent and hunger that he is still a key man for United, as he enters his 16th full season as a first-team player.
"I did go through last season thinking 'this might be the last time I play against this team' or stuff like that," said Scholes. "I thought at 35 that would be it.
"From being young and first getting into the squad I think you just presume everyone would finish at 35. Whatever you do after that is a bonus.
"My performances will decide when I finish. When I physically can't play any more in this team, I know that will be it and I'll have enjoyed my time playing.
"Every time you play well, you think it might be the last time you do it, so you do enjoy them a bit more. At the end of last season I felt OK. Hopefully this season I will do as well."
The likes of Carrick, Darren Fletcher, Anderson and Darron Gibson may be the future of United in central midfield, but Scholes will play a hugely influential role this season, if his display against Chelsea is an indication of what to expect from him this term.
Nine Premier League titles, two Champions Leagues and three FA Cups have not quenched his thirst for more success and yet it remains a mystery why Scholes, whose class on and off the pitch is widely acclaimed, has never won the PFA Player of the Year or Footballer of the Year awards.
Ryan Giggs, another United legend, fell into that same category until his unique contribution to football was rightly recognised and rewarded in 2009 with the PFA Player of the Year award.
How fitting would it be for Scholes, who may be entering his last season at United, to end his playing career by winning the individual accolade he deserves above any other player, for his remarkable contribution to English football.
Given his loathing of the limelight and public appearances, it would be a job to persuade Scholes, almost always first out of the dressing-room and off home after matches, to leave his family in Saddleworth to attend the lavish ceremony in London.
It would be no more than Scholes deserves, but his legacy is already firmly established at United, in the trophies he has helped them win and the ongoing majestic performances that, in the opinion of Crerand and other esteemed Old Trafford figures, mark him out as their best-ever player. Few would argue with that.
Just a quick question for the United fans (and any other fan for that matter), who do you think Uniteds greatest player? Do you agree with the article, if not who is the best?
Please do give a reasoning behind your choice. (H)