Scholes wrote in the London Evening Standard: "It might surprise you to hear that Nemanja, who arrived from Spartak Moscow, was not the powerful centre-back he became over his years with the club. There was nothing of him when he arrived. He was skinny and relatively easy to push off the ball. Like Patrice, he took a battering in his first few weeks at the club - in training as well as matches.
"His league debut was a 4-3 defeat to Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park, with Rio Ferdinand playing in midfield and later sent off. It was one of those crazy Premier League games with goals flying in, defensive mistakes and tough tackles. Nemanja must have realised quite early on that he was not strong enough to play in the centre of defence at that time, so he did something about it.
"For the next year, every time I walked past the gym, I would see Nemanja in there lifting weights. He turned himself into a big, strong centre-half who was capable of knocking strikers out of the way. He always had a great ability to head the ball, but allied with his strength he became unbeatable in the air. Throughout his United career, we would play away at difficult grounds and it would be Nemanja heading crosses and set pieces when the team were under pressure."