Manchester United legend Paul Scholes could be set to embark upon his first foray into management, with speculation suggesting Oldham Athletic could turn to the former midfielder as they seek to find a suitable replacement for Lee Johnson.
According to reports from The Daily Mail, Oldham are considering Scholes for the role with Johnson widely expected to take the reins at fellow League One outfit Barnsley shortly after a compensation package was agreed between the clubs and the 33-year-old was seen in the stands at Glanford Park to witness the Tykes' 1-0 win against Scunthorpe on 25 February.
Scholes is known to hold a particular affinity for Oldham having supported the club as a child but it is not yet known if he would seriously contemplate the possibility of taking up the post should he be approached by chairman Simon Corney.
After retiring from playing for the second and final time in 2013, Scholes has regularly found work as a television pundit and newspaper columnist, regarded particularly for his rather honest and no-nonsense approach to analysis that leaves one in no doubt whatsoever about his true feelings on any given matter.
As well as offering his views on the game through various media channels, the former England international and 11-time Premier League winner also spent time on Manchester United's coaching staff during the 2013-14 campaign, assisting former teammates Nicky Butt and interim manager Ryan Giggs only to depart the club once again following the appointment of Louis van Gaal as David Moyes' permanent successor at Old Trafford.
Ched Evans controversy
It has certainly been an interesting season so far at Oldham. The club, who showed great faith in Johnson when appointing him as manager given his total lack of experience, remain in contention for a play-off berth but also attracted widespread criticism in January after toying with the idea of offering Ched Evans a contract after his release from prison.
Following on from their disappointing 3-0 defeat to relegation-threatened Leyton Orient on 21 February, the Latics lie ninth in League One and trail sixth-placed Bradford City by just two points heading into their next match at home to Preston North End. Could Scholes be sufficiently tempted by the chance to guide his boyhood idols to the Championship for the first time since 1997?
"It's quite difficult to say," he said when asked about the possibility of managing Oldham while still a player. "I don't know what will happen when I stop playing and Oldham have a manager.
"But I love Oldham and it's the first result I look out for every week. I take my lad to watch them whenever I can."