Last updated : 04 August 2004 By Editor
Paul Scholes has quit the overrated circus that is international football. Let's hope some of his team mates follow suit. From the Guardian.

English football, already reeling from the Football Association debacle, suffered a further blow last night when Paul Scholes announced his surprise retirement from international competition.

The Manchester United player, long considered by opponents to be England's most potent midfield threat, brought the curtain down on a seven-year career in which he earned 66 caps and scored 14 goals.

Scholes's decision will have been welcomed by his club and family but has dismayed Sven-Goran Eriksson, with the 29-year-old understood to have been influenced by the antipathy within the national squad to playing the diamond formation which suits his style, instead forcing him out to play left-midfield.

"This is a decision I have not taken lightly," said Scholes, who made his England debut as a substitute in a friendly against South Africa in 1997 and scored 13 times in his first 35 matches.

"I have been considering retiring from international football for a while now. I have enjoyed seven years of great football, playing in the best competitions with some of the best players, under the best managers.

"Euro 2004 was fantastic but afterwards I felt the time was right for myself and my family to make it my last England appearance."

Fergie said:

"Paul has made a great contribution to England and I don't think he feels he's missing anything now.

"I think 66 caps is beyond an average international career, he is going out at the top and we respect his decision.

"I spoke to Paul nearly a year ago about it when he came to see me and wanted to think about it.

"At the end of the season before he left he said he'd speak to Sven about it and he did that and he's come to his decision."


"I am very sorry that Paul has decided to retire. When Scholes plays well, England play well."

"Paul and I have been speaking about this since Euro 2004 and, while he remained a key part of my plans for the England team, I fully respect his decision.

"He is a great player who has given so much to England over the last seven years. He has a very special talent and it has been a privilege working so closely with him."

David Beckham said:

"I've played with Paul since I was 15 and he's one of the country's best-ever players."

Let's hope Fergie takes note too and finally stops f*cking about with his prime creative asset.