"I have no hesitation in putting a name to the embodiment of all that I think is best about football," said Charlton. "It's Paul Scholes.
"Many great players have worn the shirt of Manchester United. Players I worshipped, then lost with my youth in Munich.
"Players like Denis Law and George Best who I enjoyed so much as team-mates and now, finally, players I have watched closely in the Alex Ferguson era. And in so many ways Scholes is my favourite. I love his nous and conviction that he will find a way to win, to make the killer pass or produce the decisive volley.
"When a game reaches a vital phase, these qualities seem to come out of his every pore. He's always on the ball, always turning on goal.
"He's always looking to bring other people into the action and if he loses possession you think he must be ill."
Charlton also recalled the first time he saw Scholes playing in a United shirt.
"It was a youth match at Sunderland," he said. "Paul had only touched the ball a few times before I realized the hairs on the back of my neck were standing up.
"Most impressive of all, he had the talent to pass the ball through the eye of a needle, the most vital of as sets when you're trying to break down a packed defence. Paul's so good that it's always such a disappointment tome when I don't see his name on the team-sheet.
"I wonder 'who's going to do the clever stuff, the short, accurate passing that cuts open a defence?'
"But the key to a great career is a deeper understanding of your own skills and an ability to produce them at times of maximum pressure. In this, they have the perfect example in Paul."