Scholes tells Capello he called too late

MANCHESTER, June 7, 2010 (AFP) - Paul Scholes admits he would have come out of international retirement to play for England at the World Cup if coach Fabio Capello had asked him earlier.

Scholes quit England duty six years ago but Capello offered the Manchester United midfielder a chance to return to the fold as he looked to add more experience to his World Cup squad.

(AFP files) Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes (in red)

Capello's call came just days before the Italian announced his provisional 30-man squad for the tournament in South Africa and Scholes decided to snub the request.

However, the United veteran has revealed he almost certainly would have agreed to play if he had been given more time to mull over the decision.

"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," Scholes told the Oldham Evening Chronicle.

"If they'd asked me earlier I probably would have accepted. 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."

Scholes also admitted he felt for United team-mate Rio Ferdinand, who will miss the tournament having suffered a knee ligament injury in England's first full training session in South Africa.

"I really feel for Rio, especially getting hurt so close to the start of the action," Scholes said.

"It's not just sad for Rio but for England as well, because he is captain and an important figure."

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