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Page last updated at 17:27 GMT, Monday, 7 June 2010 18:27 UK

World Cup 2010: Timing wrong for Scholes England return

Wayne Rooney

World Cup guide - England

Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes has said he probably would have played for England at the World Cup had he been asked sooner.

The 35-year-old, who retired from international football six years ago, turned down an approach from manager Fabio Capello in May.

Scholes told the Oldham Evening Chronicle: "I wasn't given enough time to think about it. It's a big decision.

"If they'd asked me earlier, I probably would have accepted."

Speaking for the first time about his reasons for turning down the opportunity to come out of international retirement, Scholes said he would not have been comfortable replacing a player who had helped England qualify for South Africa.

"There are players in the squad who have spent nearly two years flying all around the world helping England qualify for the World Cup, whereas I haven't been involved for a long time," he said.


"It wasn't a case of wanting to go on holiday, it was the fact that I got the call so close to the tournament, and also I didn't want to take the place of someone who helped get England to South Africa.

"The idea just didn't sit comfortably with me."

Scholes has played in two World Cups and two European Championships with England but retired from international football at the age of 29, saying he wanted to concentrate on his club career and spend more time with his family.

The midfielder said he sympathised with his Manchester United team-mate Rio Ferdinand after knee injury ruled him out of the tournament.

"I really feel sorry for Rio, especially getting hurt so close to the start of the action," said Scholes.

"It's not just sad for Rio but for England as well because he is captain and an important figure."

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see also
Team tracker and Predictor
27 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
Capello names surprise Cup squad
11 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
Lure of Capello tempted Carragher
19 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
Who are the champions? Third
08 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Who are the champions? Fourth
07 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup scouting: the final squad
31 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
Scholes quits England
03 Aug 04 |  Internationals
World Cup venues
05 Dec 09 |  World Cup 2010

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