In his first few years at United,
He wasn’t seen as the danger.
It was just Beckham, Keane, Giggs –
And some ginger.
Sometimes, he seemed to bring his shyness
Onto the field of play,
Waiting politely for everyone to enter the box
Before he did:
After you, after you,
Letting his other team-mates approach,
Then sending ahead the ball, and, last of all,
Silently slipping in at the far post:
Head down, always down, in an aggressive burst,
Like a fervent worshipper arriving late for church.
I don’t know how he managed
To stay so long out of the media’s sight.
Perhaps because his shots travelled faster than the speed of hype.
Perhaps it was his playing style, elegant and minimal,
Often seeing even two-touch as too much.
Whatever his ploy, it was several seasons till I heard his voice,
Since those quietly great have others to speak for their legend:
People like Zidane, who considered him an equal.
He was a man of erratic passion,
Followed by fiery confetti
Throughout his career, conjuring plumes of red and yellow
From topmost pockets:
But those sins are forgiven
For all the rhythm he brought to endless games,
Over which on YouTube we can cast our endless gaze.
Paul Scholes: twenty-odd medals, all told:
He came, he saw;
He scored goals.