MANCHESTER United veteran Paul Scholes insists he only turned down the chance to come out of international retirement at the World Cup because he felt rushed.
Scholes, who played his last England game in 2004, rejected a late plea from Fabio Capello to return to the fold for the finals in South Africa.
The 35-year-old, who has 66 caps and played in the 1998 and 2002 tournaments, admits he would have felt guilty taking the place of a player who had performed in qualifying.
But Scholes says the decisive factor was Capello’s timing, admitting that
if he had been allowed longer to mull it over he would have accepted.
“It’s a big decision and I wasn’t really given enough time to think about it, so I decided not to take up the offer. If they’d asked me earlier I probably would have accepted,” said Scholes.
“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.
“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.”
Despite passing up the chance to play at the World Cup, Scholes
expressed his sympathy for United defender Rio Ferdinand, who was ruled out by injury. “I really feel for Rio, especially getting hurt so close to the start of the action,” he added.
“It’s not just sad for Rio but for England as well, because he is captain and an important figure.”