Manchester United legend Paul Scholes says he regrets retiring from international duty with England so early, despite eventually going on to play a crucial role at club level later in his career.
The 45-year-old hung up his boots in 2013, but Scholes actually made his last appearances for England nine years earlier, calling it a day with the Three Lions after they were knocked out of Euro 2004 by Portugal.
Scholes admits he acted too quickly by retiring from international duty and says he regrets turning down the chance to play for England at the 2010 World Cup.
"I had a young family at the time and going away for England for ten days at a time, sometimes six weeks in the summer, it just wasn’t ideal and I wasn’t enjoying it," Scholes told BBC Radio 5 Live's Friday Football Social.
"I know a lot was made of Sven-Goran Eriksson playing me on the left-hand side of midfield but that was never the problem.
"I was on the left but I played there many times for United and was quite successful there, scored a few goals so it was never really why I left England. It was just a personal choice.
"I do regret leaving England so soon. I went back to United and my football changed. I had been a player who was expected to score goals all the time for England, which I was judged on.
"I was tempted to come back, you’d hear whispers all the time but there was only the one time really officially.
"It was before the World Cup in South Africa, I’d played well that season and they were struggling with a few injuries.
"[Fabio] Capello didn’t ring me, maybe if he had it might have been different. Maybe he could have twisted my arm. Is it something I regret? Probably I do because at that time I was playing really well."
While he won a host of trophies at club level, it seems Scholesy's international career will always be a case of what could have been.
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Source : 90min