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Page last updated at 10:41 GMT, Tuesday, 27 July 2010 11:41 UK

Paul Scholes hints at England World Cup regret

Paul Scholes
Scholes has 66 England caps despite quitting the national team in 2004

Manchester United's Paul Scholes says he may have made a mistake in not taking up England boss Fabio Capello's invitation to play at the World Cup.

The Italian attempted to draw Scholes out of international retirement in the warm-up to South Africa 2010, but the midfielder turned down the offer.

England bowed out at the second-round stage, and Scholes, 35, said: "I am not saying I would have made a difference.

"I am saying I might have made the wrong decision."

Scholes has made 66 appearances for the national side and scored 14 goals.

He has not featured for England since 2004, but with Capello keen to strengthen his midfield options ahead of the tournament, the Italian's right-hand man Franco Baldini made a last-ditch attempt to bring the midfielder back into the fold.

The call, says Scholes, took him by surprise - and after being given only two hours to make up his mind, he had little choice but to turn down the opportunity.

Asked if two hours was too little time to make a major decision, he said: "That's what I thought.

Would I have joined up if Capello had called me? Maybe

Paul Scholes

"That's why I probably said no, not just because he had given me a couple of hours to think about it but the fact I needed a bit more time.

"I am not saying it definitely would have been [yes] in that case but I think it might have been. I did not expect it the call. It wasn't even on my mind.

"It wasn't until a week before the tournament you start seeing all the build up and thought maybe I made the wrong decision.

"I am just saying it was a chance play in the World Cup and I turned it down. I don't look back and think it didn't go well for England because I didn't go.

"Would I have joined up if Capello had called me? I don't know. Maybe it might have meant more."

England's performances in South Africa were a huge disappointment. Following draws against the United States and Algeria, Capello's men scraped a 1-0 win over Slovenia to earn a place in the second round as runners-up in Group C.

There, however, they were humiliated by German 4-1 and sent crashing out of the tournament.


It prompted a raft of speculation surrounding Capello's future, despite the fact he is contracted until 2012, only for the Football Association to publicly back their manager after a period of reflection.

Now, all eyes will be on Capello's squad for the international friendly against Hungary on 11 August - named on Saturday 7 August.

Many expect that England squad to feature a number of changes, with Capello thought to be considering drafting a number of young players into his set-up to revitalise the senior team.

Emile Heskey is one member of the World Cup squad certain to be left out following his international retirement, while the likes of David James and Jamie Carragher could also be omitted.

That could mean first-team opportunities for the likes of Joe Hart and Adam Johnson of Manchester City, Tottenham's Michael Dawson and Tom Huddlestone, and Aston Villa's Ashley Young.

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see also
England call too late - Scholes
07 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Scholes hints at extending career
14 Jul 10 |  Man Utd
Capello to have aide by September
19 Jul 10 |  Football
Where do England go from here?
14 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Capello to remain as England boss
02 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Barwick baffled by dismal England
29 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010

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