Paul Scholes claims he could have come out of retirement to play for England at the 2010 World Cup if Fabio Capello had asked him personally.
Scholes retired from international football after Euro 2004, at the age of just 29, with fellow attacking midfielders Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard breaking through.
However, he enjoyed a late resurgence in his Manchester United career, playing in a deeper role, and he admits he pulled away from the England set-up too early.
“I was tempted to come back, you’d hear whispers all the time but there was only the one time really officially,” the 45-year-old told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“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 wanted me to come back, I got a phone call from Stuart Pearce who was on the staff.
“I had a few days to think about it and I felt I was playing well enough, I just decided that it was wrong, I hadn’t been involved in qualifying and there were other players who had been in the squad for two years, being away from their families.”
Ultimately, Scholes feels Capello did not do enough to tempt him back into the fold.
“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.”
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