Paul Scholes turned down Fabio Capello’s plea to join the England squad at the World Cup in South Africa this summer, preferring instead to stay in Manchester with his wife and kids. Capello wanted Scholes, who retired from international football aged just 29, to add quality to an England midfield desperately short of experience.
Still technically the best midfielder in the country, Scholes long hated traveling with the England squad before his retirement after the Euro 2004 tournament. Sven Goran Eriksson’s insistence on playing Europe’s finest central midfielder on the left-wing hardly helped.
Capello revealed he has tried to tempt Scholes out of retirement for the past two months. But Scholes, who once claimed that “Manchester is the best place on earth,” was never likely to reverse a six year-old decision.
“Yes but it was up to him,” Capello confirmed when he announced England’s provisional 30-man squad for the World Cup yesterday.
“He said no, he preferred to stay with the family in Manchester. But I tried.”
Capello is not the first to fail, Steve McClaren also tried to bring the Bury-born midfielder, who has won 66 caps, out of retirement.
Scholes scored 13 goals in his first 39 internationals before Eriksson began to tinker with the midfielder’s place in the England side, essentially preferring the failed Frank Lampard-Steven Gerrard axis.