Nicky Butt
Nicky Butt has hailed Paul Scholes\' Manchester United return. REUTERS

Manchester United legend Nicky Butt has lauded Sir Alex Ferguson's decision to bring Paul Scholes out of retirement on the eve of Sunday's Manchester derby.

The former England midfielder, 37, retired in June to assume a coaching role at Old Trafford. But he agreed to return for United until the end of the season over the weekend and came off the bench for the final 31 minutes for United's 3-2 win at Manchester City on Sunday.

Manchester United came into Sunday's FA Cup third round tie on the back of consecutive Premier League defeats, but Scholes' return appeared to give the visitors a much needed boost ahead of the derby clash.

And former Manchester United star Butt believes Ferguson has pulled off another piece of psychological mastery by bringing Scholes back for the rest of the campaign.

"It was a smart move by the manager," former Manchester United midfielder Butt told MUTV. "It took all the attention off their home record and the bookmakers' odds and switched all the attention to Paul Scholes and Manchester United. It was a great little bit of psychology.

"You are not going to get a better player than Paul Scholes," he said. "He is a phenomenal player. He can do what no one else can do.

"He dictates play and keeps things simple. There is no one better at doing that. It is a massive boost for everyone at the club."

Scholes' Manchester United return was kept so secret that even his team-mates were not aware of the midfielder's return until the first XI was announced an hour before kick-off.

"We didn't know about Scholesy until he started getting changed and we saw the 'Scholes 22' shirt," revealed Wayne Rooney in the aftermath of United's hard-fought win at the Etihad Stadium.