The 37-year-old came out of retirement and to Sir Alex Ferguson’s aid after United were hit by an injury crisis in December, with Anderson and Darren Fletcher missing from their midfield.
Scholes made an immediate impact on his return, helping to mastermind the Red Devils’ 3-2 victory over Manchester City in the FA Cup third round.
But the former England international’s biggest contribution has been to United’s league form, with Ferguson’s side picking up 25 from a possible 27 points and overtaking City to lead their derby rivals by four points in the title race.
And QPR boss Hughes admitted he was surprised at the midfielder’s decision to retire in the first place.
“It’s great that Paul Scholes is still playing,” said Hughes.
“His decision [to retire] was perhaps born out of frustration that he felt he wasn’t getting as many games as he deserved, and as a consequence, that was affecting how he could perform when he was given opportunities.
“The spell away from the game has helped him realise that when you do finish playing, it’s a long, long time [without football].
“You should always keep playing as long as you can. I played until was 38, and I was hanging on at the end – but I wouldn’t have missed those last few years for anything.
“So maybe some wise old heads had a word with Paul and told him, ‘you’ve got to keep on playing’ – and given what he’s produced, I think he understands that now.”
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