Manchester United legend Paul Scholes has been appointed the new manager of League Two side Oldham, with the ex-England international taking his first steps into coaching.
The 44-year-old has, outside of a brief spell working under Ryan Giggs in 2014 during the Welshman’s spell as caretaker manager at Old Trafford, focused on punditry work since hanging up his boots.
He is now stepping out of the studio and into the dugout as he prepares to return to his roots.
Scholes has never made any secret of his affinity for Oldham and that a role at Boundary Park would appeal to him.
He told ITV in January when talk of a position with the Latics first surfaced: “I’ve made no secret that I want to get back into football in some form of coaching.
“I was a United fan as a young kid but my dad was an Oldham fan so it was a lot easier to go and watch Oldham.”
Scholes has also previously acknowledged that, having worked as a pundit and been outspoken in some of his opinions, he is open to criticism if things do not go to plan for him as a boss.
He said: “If I go into coaching or management and results are not good, I have left myself open to a bit of stick but I am big enough to take it.”
Former United manager Jose Mourinho was among those to be questioned by Scholes on a regular basis prior to his dismissal by the Red Devils in December.
The Portuguese did not take too kindly to seeing his methods mocked and will be among the interested observers as Scholes steps into the unknown.
Mourinho has said: “If Paul one day decides to be a manager, I wish that he can be 25 per cent as successful as myself. If he’s 25%, he’ll be quite happy.”
Speaking about the appointment, Oldham owner Abdallah Lemsagam told the club’s website: “Paul has won everything there is to win in football.
“He is a man who will bring a lot of footballing knowledge and his hunger to succeed in management will be there for everyone to see.
“It’s no secret how much he has wanted this job in the past and how much he loves this club, so I’m very happy to bring him into our family at Oldham Athletic.
“Paul will have my backing 100% and hopefully we can work together to bring success back to this club.”
Scholes will be hoping to fare considerably better than that but has a long road ahead of him.
He is now following in the footsteps of former team-mates such as Giggs and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer by moving into management.
Gary Neville has also tried his hand at coaching, but a saw a brief spell at La Liga side Valencia last just under four months.
Scholes will be aware of that the pressure is on him to avoid suffering a fate similar to that endured by his fellow co-owner of Salford City.
It is that stake in the National League promotion hopefuls which has delayed Oldham’s move to get a new manager on board.
With Scholes owning 10% of Salford, he has required clearance from the Football League to take another role – as rules prevent a person filling positions at two clubs at the same time.
It has been determined that a holding of 10% or less can be disregarded as being “purely for investment purposes”.
Scholes’ first match in charge will see his new side host Yeovil Town on February 12 as they look to bridge the nine-point gap to those currently in the League Two play-off places.