THEY may be opponents on Saturday night, but that didn’t stop Manchester United greats Andy Cole and Paul Scholes from giving advice to the Younghusband brothers that they will be up against in Clear Dream Match 3 at the University of Makati Stadium.
Cole, the second-highest goal scorer in the English Premier League who will team up with James Younghusband, advised fellow striker Phil to focus on his accuracy when getting an opportunity to score, apart from simply “enjoying” his career.
“Just enjoy as much as possible,” Cole said in a short chat with Spin.ph on Friday on the eve of the third and final edition of the all-star football match. “Once he gets into a position to score a goal, make sure he hits the target. If he hits the target, he’ll have half a chance.”
The advice came less than a week after Phil missed a golden opportunity to score for the national team in the first half of the Azkals’ 0-1 loss to Palestine in the Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup finale in Maldives.
With only the goalkeeper to beat, Phil’s hurried attempt went over the bar in what was the Azkals’ best chance in the match that ended in heartbreak.
Phil, still the country's top international scorer with 36 goals, now seeks a Clear Dream Match tonic as he plays alongside Scholes, who, for his part, believes fellow midfielder James simply needs to continue the constructive efforts he has been doing.
“I believe he’s a good player,” Scholes said of James. “As long as he remains dedicated, willing to work hard, I’m sure he’ll be fine.”
“And he doesn’t need much advice from me,” said the retired English booter, regarded as one of the top midfielders of his generation. “He looks like a hard-working lad anyway and he looks like he always wants to make himself better. I’m sure he’ll do well.”
It’s not only Younghusband brothers who Cole and Scholes see a bright future in as the Manchester United greats found potential in the rest of their respective 21-man squads.
“The players are willing to learn,” Scholes said. “It looks like they are very motivated to play and I’ve been impressed with the standard of football so far.”
Even just a glimpse of the local scene has the 39-year-old Scholes believing they have a chance to excel in the global stage someday.
“There’s no reason why not,” he said after Team Phil practice. “From what I’ve seen tonight, looks like there are a lot of talented players, looks like the young players as well. They have plenty of time ahead of them, and with hard work, I don’t see why they won’t have a good career in them.”
Cole echoed his United teammate’s assessment.
“If they have a dream, aspiring to come to Europe, then the game tomorrow is a chance for the guys who’ll be in it,” the 42-year-old forward said.