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Can Scholes be the fulcrum for England?

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Alistair Magowan - BBC Sport | 18:50 UK time, Wednesday, 29 February 2012

What was your reaction when Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp said Paul Scholes should go to the 2012 European Championship?

Inevitable, after Scholes came out of retirement to remind us he is still one of England's best midfielders? Or a very shrewd bit of man-management?

Before we plough into what difference Scholes has already made to Manchester United since coming out of retirement in January, it is worth clarifying that Redknapp has distanced himself from the England manager's job and might not even take it. Then, there is whether Scholes himself wants to deal with England circus again.

Having retired from England duty after Euro 2004 after being played out of position, the now 37-year-old did hint regret at not taking up former England boss Fabio Capello's offer to play at the 2010 World Cup. He was contacted by Capello's assistant Franco Baldini and only given hours to make a decision before the England squad was named.

But by calling for Scholes to travel to Poland and Ukraine four months before the tournament starts, Redknapp has already succeeded in giving Scholes plenty of thinking time no matter whether the Spurs manager changes jobs or not.

Scholes has been close to his best since returning to play for Manchester United

On Sunday, when Manchester United aim to end Tottenham's already narrow Premier League title chances while boosting their own, Scholes will be able to further endorse Redknapp's judgement.

It may be stretching it to call it an audition, and ex-England defender Gary Pallister is in the camp that believes his former Manchester United team-mate will not come out of international retirement.

But he does think Scholes' ability to dictate a game could offer England an added dimension just as he has at Old Trafford this season. And he thinks Redknapp could be the man to tempt him.

"International football suits Scholes down to a tee," Pallister says. "If you give the ball away you can wait a hell of a long time to get it back and the one thing he gives you is control of the ball. He doesn't give it away too often and I'm sure he would be a plus, but I don't think it's going to happen.

"If Harry Redknapp got the England job and said to him, 'listen, Scholesy I want you to be a pivotal part of this European Championship' then it might sway him but my gut feeling is it won't happen.

"Scholes is probably right in just concentrating on Manchester United and hopefully getting another season out of himself next year. I think he's made his mind up once about it and it would be very much a surprise if he was to turn around now."

Scholes, of course, has already performed a U-turn on a par with his legendary poise on the ball. Not even his own team-mates were fully aware when he jumped off the team bus in the FA Cup tie against Manchester City in January, having quit the game at the end of last season.

But after a few games to find his full range of passing, it is as if he has never been away. We are not talking of a vintage Scholes from eight years ago, but the way he is again the fulcrum of the team may just be the difference between United winning the title or not.

Scholes came into the side when fellow midfielders Tom Cleverley and Anderson were out injured, and comparing the six Premier League games he has appeared in this season with the 20 where he was absent, Manchester United's win percentage has jumped from 70% to 83%.

It is perhaps obvious that average possession, passes per game and overall pass completion have improved for Sir Alex Ferguson's team since Scholes' return. But it is his ability to restore some semblance of order towards the end of pivotal games that has been more noticeable.

Two recent conversations with colleagues suggest that Scholes's value is still misunderstood. One said after Scholes racked up another set of pass completion statistics close to 90% that he could do the same if he also executed so many 10 yard passes. The other said Scholes didn't have the legs for international football. Both miss the point entirely.

When people talk about his range of passing, they focus on his ability to ping the ball 50 yards to a team-mate's big toe. But what is also impressive, and perhaps more crucial, is his pass selection. By playing, quick, short and often first-time passes, Scholes has a rare quality in English football which allows him to control the pace of the game. That is why is he so revered in Spain, by the likes of Barcelona midfielder Xavi.

Scholes recognises when to settle on the ball rather than going on the attack immediately, which can be the case with other English midfielders once they have won possession.

Equally, his technique, awareness and experience mean that he is often the first person fellow midfielders and defenders look for, as can be seen from the passes from Scholes and to him in the recent league win over Liverpool.

Scholes is the fulcrum of the Manchester United team

Team-mates know that if they pass to him, the ball will stick, no matter what pressure he or the team is under as the game reaches a critical stage. In football terms, Scholes is the cure for the English disease: giving the ball away.

In January, he was brought on at Arsenal as United snatched a late winner and two of the three goals his team scored in the 3-3 fightback at Chelsea came when Scholes had been introduced past the hour mark. In the FA Cup tie at Liverpool, he was withdrawn and United slipped to a late defeat.

Having already reached his trademark 90% pass completion rate of the previous four seasons, and having been tackled once every 95 minutes this season, Scholes is once again the pivot of the team. That could prove the decisive quality as the title race comes to the boil.

"He's one of the best midfielders that England has ever produced so he has brought back control and a rhythm to the team," Pallister adds. "He's a player that everyone has a lot of confidence in as well so that gives the team a huge lift.

"Players of his age can make a difference. If you've been through title run-ins before, you know how you are going to handle the nerves when it comes down to the final few games. United have got plenty of players in their ranks who have done that whereas City are yet to find out about themselves in that kind of situation."

Scholes' role in guiding his younger team-mates to another potential top-flight honour may also give the new England boss something to think about with a crop of under-21 players starting to feed into the senior squad.

Scott Parker, Gareth Barry and, if he is fit in time, Jack Wilshere may be ahead in the queue for the deep lying midfielder, but can they get a grip on the game or spark fear into the opposition like Scholes?

There were times in the 3-2 defeat by the Netherlands on Wednesday when England's midfield was lacking someone to link play quickly with first time passes or hit wide men early. The ginger prince could yet be the perfect person to introduce from the bench just when England need it most.

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Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Paul Scholes is the only descent player England have produced in the last 20 years but there is no way he will come out of retirement that I can see.

  • Comment number 2.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 3.

    I pray that he comes out of retirement to pair up with Parker and another holding player, even if just for the tournament.

    If Harry takes the job, it will likely only be for the tournament anyway, but at short notice he is the best man for the job, leaving Pearce to probably take it long term. Pearce is not ready for it yet, but he can learn and develop the team in his image.

    Harry on the other hand can come in and make it work, as he has done many times before at club level.

    If that happens, i'm sure he can convince Scholes to opt in for one joint launch at success. And with Parker and someone else behind him, Scholes can save his legs.

    It is something exciting to hope for anyway.

  • Comment number 4.

    What are you talking about? Scholes decided 8 years ago that he would rather play for his Scottish manager than his English countrymen. He subsequently expressed regret at this decision, when he had an autobiography to sell!

    Leave him, and every other person who has put club before country, out in the cold where they belong.

    Oh and, BTW, with proper international referees, he would only be a liability anyway. Booked in 5 minutes, and either ineffective for the rest of the game, or sent off.

  • Comment number 5.

    No, Andy, he decided that he was sick of being messed around and stuck out on the left wing when he's a central midfield playmaker.

    If he was played in his natural role (behind the strikers a la Gerrard last night) then he wouldn't have to worry about his famed tackling.

    Oh and, BTW, with proper international referees, Van Bommel and Puyol can manage to stay on the pitch even while they cut someone in half.

  • Comment number 6.

    @5 Nice one!!! Even now. playing usually against vastly inferior opposition, for short periods of time, in a position built for him, he can still get booked, and crucially, escape getting booked. What would he do against superior opposition, under pressure?

    Oh and BTW. "I'm not being played where I want to play, so I'm not playing." That's an acceptable attitude to you? Really?

  • Comment number 7.

    I can't decide whether or not that it's a good idea - Scholes might be good between now and end of season but asking him to then play just a few more games might ruin that performance and then he's wasting a space in the squad. Personally I'd like to see Joe Cole in the side as he seem's to be doing well for Lille - and he may bring some of that "outide England" experience to England - I so, so wish Scholes has played abroad for at least 2-3 years to bring that to the table also.

  • Comment number 8.

    ""I'm not being played where I want to play, so I'm not playing." That's an acceptable attitude to you? Really?"

    He isn't a knight of the round table, defending England's borders, and then deserting his comrades in arms. He is a footballer, who accepted being repeatedly drastically out of position to accomodate someone no where near as good as him, until he finally got sick of it.

    Have you never worked somewhere where you eventually get sick of the way you are treated and left? If not, lucky you.

  • Comment number 9.

    Not a bad article. For what its worth,

    Scholes' retention of the ball at international would prove invaluable. Looking at last nights game the central mid fielders on show do not have what it takes (on the ball anyway) to cut it at that level. The amount of times possession was handed over too easily in the centre of the park was noteable. I do not think this would have happened with scholes.

    As for him retiring due to being played out position (and i do not see how playing for his scottish manager has anything to do with it) - the entire footballing world could see how good Paul Scholes was in his prime (Zidane/xavi/iniesta all commented on how difficult he was too play against) yet still he was overlooked for the role in which he was clearly top 3 players in the world at the time.

    He would make a difference even now.

  • Comment number 10.

    Perfect invitation for Patches to give a "good natured ribbing" into the "Trafford trundler".

  • Comment number 11.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 12.

    Its a bit silly I mean he's only just retired, yes maybe he could get into the squad but I thought we should be looking towards the youth !

  • Comment number 13.

    I agree with the looking towards youth. Going by last night the england team, and in particuar the midfield, will need to inprove dramatically - esp at keeping teh ball.

    He's gd enuf to start.

  • Comment number 14.

    the guy retired for the reason that england wouldnt play him in his best position, now 5years later england realise they dont have or have had anyone near as good as him in linking up the defence to attack so crawl back offereing him to play that central role

    forget england scholes, united fans would much rather see you get another year at OT

  • Comment number 15.

    Not that it makes much difference but its been 8 years since he retired lol

  • Comment number 16.

    @1- so how come John Terry, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard have all made the Uefa team of the year three times each? David Beckham? no...?

    But to be honest I think we should focus on building for the future with England. Not many people have realized I don't think that players like Wayne Rooney aren't passionate about playing for England (or so it seems). Just look at how many runs Jack Wilshere makes- that should be the criteria for a place in the starting line up. This tournament should just be about building for the future so I say put Cleverley in central midfield with Wilshere and Parker- he's pretty much an understudy to Scholes atm anyway.

  • Comment number 17.

    No.

    He is too old, he retired 8 years ago from England. He is not the answer. England still have experienced attacking midfielders like Gerrard and Lampard 'to help the youngsters' if that is the criteria.

    If they want a Man Utd midfielder, England would be better off calling up the hugely underrated Michael Carrick, a man whose two-footed technique and passing game is perfect for international football, and whose form this season has been just as good if not better than the much-hyped Scholes.

  • Comment number 18.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 19.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 20.

    Good player though he was, I do not think he should be taken to Euro 2012. It is an act of desperation and would do England no good in the medium term and not make a significant different in Euro 2012. If we were one player away from having a world beating team and he was it I would think "you know what let's take him as we could win this thing" but I don't think it is worth sacrificing the chance to blood new players in a major tournament, building for the future for the sake of the fact Scholes may score one goal to enable us to lose by 4-2 rather than 4-1 in the quarters if we even get that far.

  • Comment number 21.

    If gerrard is good enough for england still then the FA needs to BEG OR BRIBE scholes back

  • Comment number 22.

    Hmm surprised at the low amount of comments on this blog. Maybe McNulty's constant pandering of the (irrelevant) England captain / manager soap opera is of more interest to the trolls on the BBC website. This blog is definately more suited to the "afficianados of the beautiful game" ;-)

    FWIW, Scholes would make a MASSIVE difference. Sneijder had a field day at Wembley with De Jong and van Bommel holding the fort behind him. The modern way is such to have two ball-playing destroyers and a free-role playmaker in the midfield. Scholes is still 10 times the player Carrick, Barry and Milner are so I'd love to see him join the England set up and teach Wilshere et al the ropes. You only have to look at United's recent success to see that experience and winning mentality is paramount!

    My squad for the Euros (form and fitness permitting):

    Hart
    Johnson
    Smalling
    Jones
    A Cole
    Parker
    Scholes
    Gerrard
    Young
    Sturridge
    Welbeck (1st 2 games)

    GKs: Foster (if he comes out of retirement), Green
    Ds: Cahill, Jagielka / Rio, Lescott (cover for Cashley @ LB and CB), Richards / Walker
    Ms: Wilshere, Cleverley, Walcott, Adam Johnson
    Ss: Rooney

    Think Defoe, J Cole, Lampard et al probably need to do a little bit more to be on the plane.

  • Comment number 23.

    Need to leave the past where it is, England will never move forward and emulate the likes of Spain if we keep harking back and dragging tired players back into the England setup. It hasn't worked in Rugby (Wilkinson) yet we put on the rose tinted glasses and think that bringing back retired players will bring Euro and World Cup success, all it does is give the Sun the chance to use a photoshopped version of the 1966 World Cup celebration (tired and old, and at times, embarrassing).

  • Comment number 24.

    I don't think scholes will or should come back, but in terms of age it's irrelevant. Bott scholes and lampard have had MUCH SUPERIOR seasons to gerrard who has looked a shadow of the player he was - cue a £50mil bid from Roman 'I don't know anything about football' abramovich

  • Comment number 25.

    He is too old, he retired 8 years ago from England. He is not the answer. England still have experienced attacking midfielders like Gerrard and Lampard 'to help the youngsters' if that is the criteria.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Exactly the reason why England will continue to win nothing, or even challenge for a trophy. 'We don't need Scholes, we've got Lampard and Gerrard'.........

  • Comment number 26.

    oh, and we all now know Gary Cahill isn't good enough for a top 4 club or england - nice experiment for the lad. cheers gary, bye bye

  • Comment number 27.

    #24
    At which point Dalglish would use the money to launch a £35 million bid for Lee Cattermole before bidding £20 million for Matthew Etherington.

  • Comment number 28.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 29.

    yes really looking to the future is that!

  • Comment number 30.

    If Scholes was the last piece in the jigsaw to make a great England team I am sure he would. He is not, so I can't see any reason why he would. The team is wafer thin when it comes to first team players with European experience. It is wafer thin on talent. It is wafer thin on 'big men' who give everything. In addition it is wafer thin on intelligence. A very average German team would stroll past this lot.

  • Comment number 31.

    There's nothing like planning for the future is there??
    Whilst you are at it, how about a blog on other potentially big Euro 2012 stories like Henry returning for France, Raul for Spain, Cannavaro for Italy or Ballack for Germany !!

  • Comment number 32.

    27.At 10:19 2nd Mar 2012, We all follow United wrote:
    #24
    At which point Dalglish would use the money to launch a £35 million bid for Lee Cattermole before bidding £20 million for Matthew Etherington.

    -----------------

    I would have thought the panic midfield buy was Jordan Henderson!

    No doubt a £35m bid for Hatem Ben Arfa isn't far away should Gerrard leave!

  • Comment number 33.

    England won't win Euro 2012 either way so why not give someone younger a chance?

  • Comment number 34.

    He decided to retire from international football because he didn't like being away from his family over the course of a tournament.His dislike of pre-season tours is well known.He is still the best midfielder in the premier league at what he does and would be a huge plus for England if he came out of retirement I doubt he will however.

  • Comment number 35.

    It's all well and good planning for the future but even Germany retained Ballack as their captain before he got injured in the FA Cup final. They had the likes of Lahm, Schweinsteiger and Klose.

    You cannot buy experience. Even the 1996 United team that won the League had Keane, Schmeichel and Cantona who'd done it all before.

    It may seem short-termist but the experience of training and playing with a legend like Scholes will do the likes of Wilshere no harm at all.

  • Comment number 36.

    @23

    Exactly! Bringing back a 37 year old retired midfielder smacks of lack of faith and confidence in players like Wilshere, Rodwell and Milner.

    Time to move forward, not take steps backwards.

  • Comment number 37.

    I'm a fan of treating the Euros as an experiment, a one off, a chance for new players to stake a claim for a regular spot in the World Cup qualifiers. It's for this reason that i would choose a squad without many of the more established players like Gerrard, Lampard and Terry. I think all three are vastly overrated by English fans and media alike, not to mention the fact that they are all the wrong side of thirty and are showing sharp declines in performance levels.

    Parker is a player i can't help admiring, his attitude and ability to close the opposition down makes him the ideal choice for the "water carrier" role in the side, similar in many ways to Owen Hargreaves in 2004 (or was it 2006?). The question then is how do we affect the game going in the other direction?

    Presuming we will line up with a central midfield three and without Gerrard and Lampard as mention above there are only a few viable options as far as i am concerned. Barry should be Parker's understudy in that def midfield role, he offers nothing in an attacking sense. Wilshere, if fit and able to build some sort of form before the tournament, fulfills the more attack minded of the central three. The player that will push forwards and affect play in and around the opposition box. The position that's left therefore is the Xavi-esque role, the player that knitts it all together with sharp, accurate passing.

    On the evidence of this season i think there are only three English players good enough to play this role and, with as little bias as i can muster, i have to say that they all play for Man Utd. Tom Cleverly, when he's been fit to play (which has been a rarity, granted) has demonstrated a keen understanding of how to keep possession in the tightest of situations. He spreads play beautifully for someone still relatively inexperienced at the top level of the game. Then there is the crab, Michael Carrick. Often derided for his 5yrd passes side to side or back into defence, this year Carrick has suddenly woken up. He's been playing more and more attacking, defence splitting passes. He's suddenly finding the confidence to play the 40yrd cross field balls that help to divide an opposition in two, not to mention a few forward runs and a couple of goals to his name. In short, he's now back playing at the same level he was when he first joined Utd and the team is playing a more fluid style as a consequence.

    Then there is the master; Mr Paul Scholes. I know he's not many's cup of tea but he is the only player produced in England over the past 2 decades capable of playing in a continental fashion, of understanding that keeping possession is often more important in games than looking for a direct pass in behind. His temperament has always been an issue, but i don't remember French fans dismissing Zidane for the occasional headbutt. It needn't be an issue. His experience could be a vital component to an otherwise young squad and i think he's one of only a handful of "mature" England players that would go into the tournament with a clean slate from the media and fans alike.

    Scholes, if the manager can convince him, could be instrumental in helping an otherwise inexperienced squad cope with the pressures of an International tournament.

    My team: Hart, Walker, Cahill, Smalling (insert any other centre back, they're all much of a muchness), Baines, Parker, Wilshere, Scholes, Sturridge, Young, Rooney

  • Comment number 38.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 39.

    Would've been nice if the author actually knew when the Spurs vs Man Utd game actually was but after that schoolboy error - a pretty sound piece.

  • Comment number 40.

    #33
    Whilst Scholes is one of the only English midfielders who are comfortable in possession, I think it would be better if we moved to the future. The problem I think we'll have though is if we pick the yougsters in the the Euro's and say go out in the group stages or the quarter finals, you can guarantee the same old England fans will be calling for all of them to never play again blah blah blah and the cycle of negativity continues.

  • Comment number 41.

    Good article Phil in terms of analysis and balance. Playing 3 in the middle seems to be the international formation. But to do it well, we need a midfielder who can keep the ball and pick the right pass - Scholes can do that best. So I'd take him if he'd come.
    Provided Wilshere can get games this season and find his form again, I would look to develop him in that Scholes-type role. A tournament can be tiring so Scholes wouldn't play every game anyway but could be brought on for last 30 mins and be an example for Wilshere and others.
    Whilst I agree that blooding young players should be our most important aim this summer, it could all fall apart if we don't have some experienced heads to lead and guide them. Who better than Scholes in a specialist keep-ball role which is so important in international football and a role not emulated by Gerrard or Lampard (good players though they are)?

  • Comment number 42.

    Hart

    LB: Cole
    CB: Ferdinand
    CB: Cahill
    RB: Johnson

    MD: Parker
    MD: Barry
    Md: Milner

    FW: Walcott
    FW: Young
    CF: BIG GRANT HOLT

    This is the only line up that could stop France in first game, which most people seem to overlook. You then play most flair players in "easier" games vs Sweden/Ukraine.

  • Comment number 43.

    Well judging by the uproar from the minority of fans and majority of the media about Wednesday's game, it doesn't matter what the England national team does.

    We narrowly lost to a Dutch team that oozed class and were maybe complacent with a team where Gerrard aside, Joe Hart had the most caps and he's only 24! Yet the media blames Stuart Pearce! England showed great character on Wednesday and I was at Wembley and we looked a decent outfit.

    What I couldn't believe was the number of fans walking out after 70 minutes. What exactly did they expect against the Total Football maestros. This may not be a vintage Dutch team but they're definately a cut above our inexperienced bunch. But the only way to get experience is by playing...

    I'd be happy if we played with hunger and got knocked out of the groups. The experience of losing is also invaluable to the youngsters. However, if we want to exceed expectations, the likes of Scholes will help us to the QF at least.

  • Comment number 44.

    If you think England can WIN the Euros with either Scholes, Ferdinand, Gerrard, Lampard or Terry because you feel they would be the strongest team then include them. Realistically these guys couldn't win a tournament when they were at there peak. Terry & Ferdinand are now too injury prone. Same as Gerrard who even when fit hasn't had a great season this year. I actually think Lampard hasn't been too bad this year and am a little baffled as to why AVB has not seen fit to play him more but even with that I do not think he is as good as he used to be. Gerrard may only be 31 but given his career injury list he has a body of a 38yr old spent athlete.

    While Scholes never performed the same type of role as Gerrard or Lampard in CM if you brought him to the tournament it is knowing he is no longer a 90 minute player, a luxury that could prove risky.

    But as I say if you think even with all the above England have a slim chance of winning the Euros then the gutsy thing to do is to call time on their international careers. A clear out if you like. Let the young players gain experience. Its the perfect opportunity, media, pundits don't rate Englands chances so draw a line on the past and use this as an opportunity to let the youth play daring football.

    Hart
    Cole
    Smalling
    Jones
    Walker
    Young
    Parker
    Wilshire
    Cleverly
    Johnson
    Rooney

    ps. Presumption everyone knew Barry shouldn't even be the boot cleaner!

  • Comment number 45.

    Scholes in an England shirt again? Why not? He's been doing the business at Utd...we know how passionate he is...he came out of retirement to help them out...and yes, granted he may have been throwing his toys out the pram when he retired, just because he didn't want to play out of position. If he's fit enough, and up for it, I'd take him along. Nobody expects us to do well at the Euros, so no pressure on the squad, and he can help the new bloods, show them what they should be doing and how to do it...my only concern is that he still can't tackle...but yes, get him a suit and a plane ticket

  • Comment number 46.

    I would take scholes but I wouldn't start him. He is a great option to have if we are 1-0 and need someone to take hold and control the game. He rarely lasts 90mins in a United shirt these days, although Int football is a hell of a lot slower.

    My starting team

    Hart

    Richards
    Lescott
    Smalling
    Cole

    Parker
    Carrick
    Rooney

    Sturridge/Johnson
    Welbeck
    Young/Ox

  • Comment number 47.

    Stick with a young squad, stick scholes in the middle of them, let the rest do the running for him and stand back and wacth the master at work.

    Many appear to be missing the point that the Pards's do not, will not and never will fit the international central midfield mould - ie - the ability to retain possession.

    Gerrard, Lampard and any other other pard are not fit to lace his boots.

  • Comment number 48.

    Alistair - "Paul Scholes has been one of the greatest midfielders of his generation" , so says ZZ. Scholes has comeback from retirement to 'do a job' for Manchester United and is succeeding; and in his 'heart of hearts' I'm sure he would love to 'boss' England's mid field for one last time in the Euro's.

    However, massive 'Scholsey fan' that I am, I would still counsell him against a return to England's ranks (if it became a real possibility!)... the reason is, and all seasoned 'Scholes watchers' will tell you, that although surprisingly his attempts at tackling are getting a (bit) better, he does however, like all those getting on a bit! tend to lose concentration occasionally; only for a brief second or two, but such is Scholes 'match play' style that whenever he does lose that bit of concentration, he often gives the ball away in dangerous positions ..... something which, in his pomp, he virtually never did! There have been occasions in recent games when this has happened and United have suffered, or sometimes just manage to avoid being punished.

    It would be a massive gamble for Paul himself and for England, a misjudged tackle could leave England with 10 men, a loss of concentration for a few nanoseconds and England go a goal down...! Then all the ABU's and pessimists would have a field day! On the flip side Paul Scholes could help a moderate side become a bit better, but the chance of his influence alone helping England to win a tournament, would be low indeed.

    Although I would love to be proved wrong and see 'Scholsey' take a medal away with him in the Euro's, the odds are too great... leave it lone Paul!

  • Comment number 49.

    -----------Carrick-------Parker----------

    -----------------Scholes-----------------

    Sturridge-------------------------Young

    -----------------Rooney------------------

    How is that not awesome?? (Don't say there's no back 5)

  • Comment number 50.

    Its too late for scholes to return. And in what position would you expect him to play in. Scholes cannot physcial last for 90 minutes against a quality international team. My team for euros:

    Hart
    Walker cahill Jones A cole
    Parker Carrick
    Walcott gerrard young
    Welbeck/ rooney

    And with impact subs of adam johnson, wilshere and downing, I do not see how and why scholes should return. Unless he replaces gerrard. But that is not possible because scholes has not played as an attacking player for a quite a while.

  • Comment number 51.

    he wont go back. if he did he would have to be played in position. the reason he did not go in 2012 is he did not want to take a spot of someone who had been in the squad of the qualifiers and do you think that will change 2 years later?

  • Comment number 52.

    Just another opportunity for utd fans to wax lyrical about Scholes. The guys a good player, bit quit England years ago. Gerrard was constantly played on the left, right, striker...he has been snubbed for the captaincy numerous times...yet he still turns up for England. Scholes has a lack of desire at some level to represent his country, dangerous to take him. Also it's a middle finger up at all the younger players who have worked hard to get just single caps and hope for a place, just for an old timer who doesn't reall care about his country to take his place. Calling him up would send the wrong message and would be a massive mistake.

  • Comment number 53.

    what a player still after so many years Ferguson knows if you need to win the game you play Scholes and Giggs

  • Comment number 54.

    4.At 09:59 1st Mar 2012, Andy1959 wrote:
    What are you talking about? Scholes decided 8 years ago that he would rather play for his Scottish manager than his English countrymen. He subsequently expressed regret at this decision, when he had an autobiography to sell!

    Leave him, and every other person who has put club before country, out in the cold where they belong.

    Oh and, BTW, with proper international referees, he would only be a liability anyway. Booked in 5 minutes, and either ineffective for the rest of the game, or sent off.

    __________________

    He retired because he was played on the left consistently, despite being easily the best central midfielder of the last 20yrs. If you don't understand that, I can safely assume you don't really understand football.

    Reading through previous comments of yours you also seem to have a strong dislike of Manchester United players in general, so perhaps you're letting your anger cloud your judgement here.

    In terms of whether he should return- possibly. I'd personally prefer a young side without the players that have consistently failed to perform for their country over their careers. The inexperience would probably costs us at latter stages, however it will be a moulding team experience I think. Players like Scholes who have seen and done it all could have a positive influence, but should really only be getting small amounts of playing time.

  • Comment number 55.

    Jack Wilshere is only 20. I think it's time to leave his name out of out predicted teams for now. He probably won't play again this season and even if he does, the pressure he'd be under to deliver for England would probably lead to another injury.


    "Jack Wilshere
    Jack Wilshere (Ankle)

    Last Updated: 15 February

    Jack suffered a setback on his way to recovery, but is not ruled out for the season. Speaking on February 14, Arsene Wenger said: "The recovery of his latest problem looks very, very good. His last scan was very positive so we go here cautiously, step by step, because we tried to push him back quicker and we had a setback. This time we have to be very cautious and not go too quick. He can be back before the end of the season, of course."

    Last Game: Arsenal 1-1 New York Red Bulls - July 31, 2011

    More Jack Wilshere Stories"

  • Comment number 56.

    Great, a blog about a man who's not the England manager possibly picking someone for England (or coaxing back) who's retired from International football! Super! If/When I'm chosen I'm bringing back peter shilton and bobby Moore...

  • Comment number 57.

    34. At 10:26 2nd Mar 2012, Pele Good,Maradonna Better,George Best. wrote:
    He decided to retire from international football because he didn't like being away from his family over the course of a tournament.His dislike of pre-season tours is well known

    ** footballers get to spend much more time with their families than the majority of people that do 'normal jobs up to retirement age' (especially the millionaire players who could all retire from 'doing anything' at 30!

  • Comment number 58.

    NO!
    Scholes was great but now he is a liabilty - we have seen that is the games he has played recebtly.
    It is a sad reflection on England and Man U that they have to rely on him.

  • Comment number 59.

    Scholes is not the answer. He is world class, but England should build on youth.

  • Comment number 60.

    The FA and England manager (whoever that is going to be) need to have players that WANT to play for their country. Scholes was brought back into the United midfield because they ran out of players due to injury. He isn't a first choice player for his club so how can he be expected to be a fulcrum for England.
    England need to build for the future and not keep using players that have no desire to wear the England shirt. Players like Lampard and Rooney look like they can't be bothered most of the time so give those positions to players that want to be there. Scholes gave up on England, so find a player that wants to play for England and one that can do the job.
    It can't be that hard to find someone that can hold onto the ball, pass the ball and score the odd goal surely?

  • Comment number 61.

    No chance, simplez!!!!

    The media on one hand say he shouldnt have come out of retirment and that fergie has used him to "cover the cracks" as phil put it, but after a couple of goals and some very decent preformances he being put back into the england picture!!! this is a circus now, england have all the youth they could want, use them, make them better players instead of just trying to win. even while fielding your "best" england have looked way off the pace from spain, germany, argentina etc. golden generation my golden balls

  • Comment number 62.

    One of the reasons Scholes has looked good is that he's played so few games and comes into the season fresh - he still can't play 90 minutes however.

    Having said that I would put him in the squad, because he would always be a useful option.

    This is assuming he wants to play - or indeed if Ferguson gives his permission.

  • Comment number 63.

    28

    Of course Utd are relying on scholes, right



    they haven't at all been decimated by injuries and utd were fighting relegation until scholes came back to play 90 mins in every game

  • Comment number 64.

    49.At 10:42 2nd Mar 2012, Click wrote:
    -----------Carrick-------Parker----------

    -----------------Scholes-----------------

    Sturridge-------------------------Young

    -----------------Rooney------------------

    How is that not awesome?? (Don't say there's no back 5)
    ==============================================================
    Great choice, might try that later in fifa..... no back 5 though ;) #banter

  • Comment number 65.

    I thought againt Holland we did alright for what team we put out - had that been a tournament match, say a group game and we'd lost 3-2 then it wouldn't be a crisis as that Holland team would put 5-6 past a team of less stature than England or another decent to good European side.
    I can see us going 433 with 3 midfield "enforcers", Richards and Cole as attacking full-backs, 2 winger-cum-strikers and Bent/Defoe in the middle of that attacking trident a'la the AC Milan trident of the late 90's.
    Our players might not be tactically astute at times but they can run all day and that's worth something surely? That 4-3-3 would suit what we have and allow Barry-Gerrard-Parker (L-R) or Barry-Gerrard-Milner (L-R) depending on whether you put Downing and Johnson upfront (for a fluid 4-5-1/4-3-3) or Sturridge and Oxlade-Chamberlain for a more solid, full on 4-3-3.

  • Comment number 66.

    As great as Paul Scholes was and still is, he turned his back on England. Playing for your country is not a by-product of professional football, it is an honour and a lot of English players would do well to remember this.

  • Comment number 67.

    63 That's post 58 and not 28

  • Comment number 68.

    Playing for the likes of united and playing for England are two completely different things. United enjoy large amounts of possession in most games whereas England tend to have to feed on scraps especially against the better teams. Scholes would be better to give international football a miss because his game's not cut out for it and he's more likely to dive in to a rash tackle out of frustration.

    However, I can see why others might be desparate for other options given the likes of Barry and Gerrard who were so far out of their depth on Wednesday it was scary. If Wiltshire can't come back from injury then England are well and truely knackered.

  • Comment number 69.

    If anything Scholes will be better suited to international football! He'll get a bit more time to pick his passes and use his experience to be patient and not waste the ball which is something what England do far far far too often. Lets face facts if it were a choice between bringing Scholes back for one last hurrah or picking a Downing or Frazer Campbell I know who I'd rather see. Think Scholes and Wilshere with Parker sitting just behind could see England play much better.

  • Comment number 70.

    Scholes should go, if he agrees, simply as he is the best central midfielder England - and United - have, even at the age of 38.

  • Comment number 71.

    Magnificent player in his day but can't help feel this would be a retrograde step that would signal a lack of confidence in the younger players emerging. Personally, I never thought Scholes shone for England in the way that he did for ManU.

  • Comment number 72.

    @56.At 10:48 2nd Mar 2012, swindonbluearmy wrote:
    Great, a blog about a man who's not the England manager possibly picking someone for England (or coaxing back) who's retired from International football! Super!

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    My sentiments entirely.

    This blog obviously comes from the story on the BBC website featuring Gary Pallister who believes Harry Redknapp is the only man who could enticed Paul Scholes out of international retirement.

  • Comment number 73.

    This is the guy who held (or maybe still holds?) the record for the number of times substituted in an England shirt?

    The future lies with Cleverley, Wilshere, Rodwell and for the immediate, Parker as skipper.

  • Comment number 74.

    56.At 10:48 2nd Mar 2012, swindonbluearmy wrote:
    Great, a blog about a man who's not the England manager possibly picking someone for England (or coaxing back) who's retired from International football! Super! If/When I'm chosen I'm bringing back peter shilton and bobby Moore...

  • Comment number 75.

    I see this as a bad idea especially if Rooney is playing as well.

    It could mean we finish up playing with 9 men instead of 10.

  • Comment number 76.

    Park 111 - agree

    Strange U Boat - thats because he isnt a winger

  • Comment number 77.

    4. At 09:59 1st Mar 2012, Andy1959 wrote:
    What are you talking about? Scholes decided 8 years ago that he would rather play for his Scottish manager than his English countrymen. He subsequently expressed regret at this decision, when he had an autobiography to sell!

    Leave him, and every other person who has put club before country, out in the cold where they belong.

    Oh and, BTW, with proper international referees, he would only be a liability anyway. Booked in 5 minutes, and either ineffective for the rest of the game, or sent off.
    ......................................................................................

    Personally I would forget about twitcher Redknapp as the future England manager and ask ANDY1959 to do the job, he obviously has a keen interest and knowledge of the game and is not afraid to let the press laden bandwagons trundle on past him without being tempted to climb aboard....

  • Comment number 78.

    71.
    At 11:04 2nd Mar 2012, Strange_UBoat wrote:

    Magnificent player in his day but can't help feel this would be a retrograde step that would signal a lack of confidence in the younger players emerging. Personally, I never thought Scholes shone for England in the way that he did for ManU.
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    Only in England could a succession of managers overlook the best goalscoring midfielder and best passer of the ball in his generation, by consistently playing him out on the left due to a lack of other options. It basically boils down to managers not having the cojones to drop a fans favourite for the good of the team, something Fabio Capello was brought in to change according to the FA.

    We've gone from managers like Keegan, Sven and Mclaren who all wanted to be the players best mate to the opposite end of the spectrum in Capello, who didn't seem remotely bothered about learning half the player's names.

    It saddens me to think that the media and fans dictated the fate of our national team by ousting the Ginger Prince when he was in his prime. Had i been in Paul Scholes position i too would have given the middle finger to the joke that is the England set up, it's the equivalent of Spain putting Fabregas on the left wing because he can't oust Xavi or Iniesta in the middle. Its ridiculous, spineless and cowardly management.

  • Comment number 79.

    Park111 - nice post, and I'd pick that team just for the sake of letting Wilshere play and train with Scholes for a while.

    Those three in the centre, with Johnson and Young on the wings, and someone who can finish chances up top. Take your pick from a limited bunch.

  • Comment number 80.

    If we take Scholes then we should also take Beckham the best dead ball expert playing football at the moment even if we use both sparingly as subs to turn games

  • Comment number 81.

    A greater u-turn for England would be if Michael Carrick was restored to the midfield ahead of Gareth Barry. After 2 sloppy seasons (By his own admission) Carrick has raised his game again. You only need to look at his 2 performances against Chelsea in the Champions League last season to see his qualities. It took him a while to adapt to the deep-lying MF role (or the quarterback role as many pundits now call it) but this season he has played consistently well and has really been United's unsung hero.

    If Carrick was Spanish or Italian his vision and technique would make him an instant part of the national team. The only time I've seen him have a poor game this season was when he was utilised as a make-shift CB against Blackburn.. which is fairly understandable.

    If I were English I'd prefer to see Carrick back in the National team mix than Scholes. I think Harry knows him quite well.. and would certainly have him in his squad.

  • Comment number 82.

    Scholes is legend of the England game but would he be effective at euros ?In last seasons champions league final he came on as substitute against Barca and didn't impact on the game . I'd love to see scholes but it won't happen . Giggs would be the best player alongside Bale if he came out of retirement for Wales but then would he perform at top level for Man U ? A tournament season as good as lasts for 21 months , it's a massive undertaking for someone who retired from international football for 8 years

  • Comment number 83.

    people in this country are obsessed with 'youth' and 'building for the next one'.. why don't we ever try and win 'this' one.. by the time we get to the next one, the youths from this one will be either billy big time, injured or not bothered anyway
    we look too far beyond the horizon one minute and then not far enough the next.. we have to strike a balance
    the fact that many top class players are terrified of scholes means he should start for that alone

  • Comment number 84.

    Wow... that this is even a topic for discussion... for an outsider this is even stranger than the constant Becks admiration...

    I know that in the PL the prominent positions are taken by foreigners, but to hail a late-30's player as 'the relief'? He probably has a recuperation time of several days after every match now...

    You English should and can do better than this, surely?

  • Comment number 85.

    What was your reaction when Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp said Paul Scholes should go to the 2012 European Championship?

    Complete horror - can we please build for 2014/16 and finally chuck out all the dead wood and the has-beens who have never got us near winning anything - ie ferdinand, gerrard, lampard, terry. All of whom along with Scholes would presumably be in redknapps team, which means he should be the last person to be considered for the job.

  • Comment number 86.

    im reading alot of slating towards scholes for not playing international football. he left because it has become a joke, after what happened to beckham years ago scholes decided enough was enough, cant blame him either, every compo someone is hung drawn and quatered! southgate was one i remember well, poor lad was crying but the crowd had no sympathy for him. beckham wears his heart on his sleeve when playing for england, didnt stop the country preparing for murder though!

    Scholes dont go back, england as a team dont deserve it

  • Comment number 87.

    If he's good enough and willing, send him. This whole talk of his age in my eyes is irrelevant. Im sure the Portugese werent moaning about Figo ageing, before he retired. (Yes I realise he was abour 3years younger.)

  • Comment number 88.

    He is too old-get over it.
    He was past it in the 2004 Europeans. He is eight years older now.
    Pick someone else.

  • Comment number 89.

    WHY?

    he makes 100 5 yard passes and people go mental over it, what difference would he make to the current midfield? they do just that!

    absolutely no need at all. stay away Scholes stay away.

  • Comment number 90.

    "forget england scholes, united fans would much rather see you get another year at OT"

    I'd honestly rather he came out of International retirement (while we're without the key future creative midfielder in Wilshere) and helped us achieve some dignity, than play another season at OT.

    He's a great player, but if he is still playing for us next year, it is an excuse for the board not to invest in replacing him properly once and for all.

  • Comment number 91.

    So you've realized only NOW that Scholes was your best midfielder ? It's a bit late, your managers messed him about for the whole time he was here and even preferred putting cloggers like Lampard and Gerrard ahead of him in CM. That was such a nonsense.

    I hope he doesn't come back for England, he never got any decent recognition when he was at his best, what's the point of calling him up now.

  • Comment number 92.

    Hummmm I wonder if we could get Gazza back as well? I bet he can still keep the ball better than Parker, Barry, Lampard etc.

    Good old English football, look forward until you lose a friendly, then look back to the players from the past who have already failed in tournaments........

  • Comment number 93.

    It just shows hoe desperate the English are when they think that the Trafford Trundler is the answer to their woes.

    If you want to see aimless 50-yard cross-field ''look at me, mum!'' passes to a team-mate with no opponent within 20-yards of him, or someone plodding along at 1mph in midfield, constantly playing pointless crab-like passes to someone 2-yards away, then, I suppose, Scholes is your man.

    However, he's already turned his back on his own country after consistently getting shown up as the mediocre plodder he is by even the most modest of international midfields, so I doubt he'd want to embarrass himself on the world stage for yet another time.

  • Comment number 94.

    "89.
    At 11:40 2nd Mar 2012, signori wrote:

    WHY?

    he makes 100 5 yard passes and people go mental over it, what difference would he make to the current midfield? they do just that!

    absolutely no need at all. stay away Scholes stay away."

    Forgive me if i'm wrong, Signori, but aren't you one of the Barca lovers? A team that made 100 5 yard passes the 'new' thing that all the cool kids are copying?

    (AH, time restricted blog posting. Pure win.)

  • Comment number 95.

    78
    I'm not English but I would agree with much of what you say. Always struck me as odd that England could never acommodate as good a player as Paul Scholes in their team and never played him to his strengths (which were many). But then I felt similarly about some of your more cultured players down the years like Hoddle and to a lesser extent Le Tissier. Keegan had no tactical nous whatsover and Sven and SMc got themselves lost in the celebrity circus around players and particularly Beckham. Unlike the latter, Scholes imo was the real midfield deal.

  • Comment number 96.

    Scholes hounded out of England side by a ravenous media desperate to put Gerrard and Lampard in the middle, and deciding the best thing to do was to say scholes was finished internationally at 29!! They said because he hadn't scored in 3 years, and he wasn't as good as these two premiership form players, he had to go. So scholes made it easy on everyone and retired.

    Now after year upon year of Gerrard/Lampard failure, and a total downturn in England's ability to retain possession, the same people demanding he retire are now bemoaning his act of retirement, trying to make out like it's him turning his back on the team.

    England supporters who demanded he retire, along with the media, got the side they deserved. Scholes still the best player out of all current England midfield options

  • Comment number 97.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 98.

    94.At 11:47 2nd Mar 2012, GenesisRed wrote:

    you are forgiven,

    as i am not one of the Barca lovers.

    Apology accepted

  • Comment number 99.

    Morning all

    Plenty of you saying you dont think Scholes will come back, which is what Pallister said, and many arguing that it is time for youth with England. Both of which I agree with, but there is a big but here, namely Harry Redknapp. I realise he might not even take the job, but given that he is probably the most qualified candidate for the position and he said he would take Scholes to the Euros, then it is worth discussing at least.

    I was pretty positive about England against the Dutch the other night, because I dont expect England to win the Euros and they were up against a very good team. I think the team that goes to the Euros should have younger feel, but with some key midfield men around that can guide them. And largely they should be Parker, Gerrard, Barry and then Scholes. I'm ignoring defenders here, although I think they should be young too, but I think Scholes is worth making an exception for.

    There are, of course, issues to resolve such as Wilshere's fitness and Rooney's ban. But the two sitting midfielders could be Wilshere and Parker with Gerrard further forward, and then when Rooney returns perhaps Wilshere and Gerrard with Welbeck as the front man in both cases. But, when we need someone to restore control of a game, or even just get the passing going more quickly then Scholes could be the man. The other advantage is that he is already playing with three players who are likely to start for England: Young, Welbeck and Rooney. Stick Sturridge on the right and bring Scholes on to pick them out late in the game and you have a threat that lasts the whole game.

  • Comment number 100.

    What is wrong with the Football press in England. Drag back an 38 year old, who never made it successfully in the England squad when he was 10 years younger, because he wasn't good enough!

    Please, can we have some perspective here? The fact that Harry Redknapp has suggested this is the biggest red-flag against his suitability for the job as England manager.

 

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