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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Scholes: I wasn’t asked to play for England at Euro 2012

Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes has revealed that he was never asked to play for England at Euro 2012 despite his impressive return to the Premier League for the Red Devils.

The 37-year-old retired from international football after Euro 2004 to focus on his club career, and then hung up his boots entirely at the end of the 2010-11 season before making a comeback in January.

Scholes has suggested before that he regretted turning down the chance to play at the 2010 World Cup and has now hinted that he may have considered accepting a call-up if asked by Roy Hodgson ahead of the tournament in Poland and Ukraine.

“I wasn’t offered the chance,” Scholes told reporters on United’s pre-season tour when questioned about his potential involvement.

It has been reported that Hodgson expected Scholes to want to focus on his club career and did not want to risk the public rejection of the playmaker.

“Well, that’s his opinion isn’t it,” Scholes continued. “He’s entitled to that.”

Asked if he would have turned down an approach, he added: “I’ve no idea. It was flattering to be talked about. But I wasn’t asked, so it means nothing.”

Now, Scholes is looking ahead to reclaiming the Premier League title from rivals Manchester City after they pipped United to the post in dramatic style.

“The manager didn’t have to twist my arm to play this season,” Scholes admitted. “He just said: ‘You’re going to play next year, aren’t you?’

“I had no plans either way – whatever the manager wanted me to do that was going to happen.

“It [losing the title] wasn’t good, was it? It’s always a motivating force when you lose the league. It’s not nice to see another team celebrate winning the title on the last day of the season, and that picture stays with you.

“For most of the season we were in control, then it got to the Wigan game and we lost that. The Everton game as well was a big disappointment, from 4-2 up to draw 4-4. And obviously we went to City and lost – that was an even bigger disappointment.

“You always say the best team win the league, and City were the best team last year. I didn’t play at Wigan when we lost but that wasn’t down to me not playing, anything could have happened.

“But we failed at the end of last season. There is no question we should have won the league. To be fair to City, they closed it out.

“It didn’t matter who it was: to be in that position, eight points clear with six games to go, it’s not like us. It was a major disappointment to lose the league from there.

“But we have to look to next year, and if we’re in the same position we’ll have to make sure we finish the job.”

Scholes conceded that the day-to-day work he did at the club’s training ground in his role as coach of the reserve team left him desperate to return in a playing capacity.

“I was itching to play again,” he said. “I was all right for the first couple of months after retiring and didn’t really miss anything.

“But once I got back into going to Carrington and coaching the reserves, as well as being with the lads, it was difficult, especially when there were so many injuries to the team.

“If I’d stayed away from the reserves and the club I’d probably have been OK. But every day that I was going in I just wanted to train and be involved.

“I did feel nervous when I first came back. When I first went to go back on the pitch I thought: ‘What the hell am I doing here – I could just be at home watching this’.

“But once I got the first few games out of the way I felt pretty normal again. I had trained a few times with the reserves and felt OK. I felt quite fit.

“I just got my head on, started training and went to see the manager. But I struggled a little – it probably took me about three or four games to get into the swing of things.”

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