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Scholes admits World Cup regret

Manchester United’s Paul Scholes has admitted that he may have made a mistake by not taking up England coach Fabio Capello’s invitation to play at the Soccer World Cup.

Capello attempted to draw Scholes out of international retirement in the warm-up to South Africa 2010, but the midfielder turned down the offer.

England went out at the second-round stage, and Scholes said: “A couple of weeks into it, I thought I maybe should have gone. I am not saying I would have made a difference. I am saying I might have made the wrong decision.”

Scholes made 66 appearances for the national side and scored 14 goals, but has not featured since retiring from international football in 2004.

The 35-year-old midfielder is now determined to win the Premier League title back from Chelsea.

Scholes is building up his fitness on United’s North American tour and looks set to get another run-out on Wednesday against the MLS All-Stars.

Like Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville, who has stayed at home because of a calf injury, Scholes concedes he is given more rest now by manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

He said: “I know that playing two or three times a week, it is not going to happen any more. So you just have to be ready when needed.

“It is accepted, definitely, given there are that many games and at our age we have to be ready when the manager needs us.

“You train every day and I did not miss a day’s training last season, which was good. I managed to avoid injury.

“When you are at a club like this you have to be capable of doing that, especially like last season when we had that many injuries.”

United had to be content with the League Cup last year after finishing runners-up to Chelsea and exiting the Champions League at the quarterfinal stage when they lost to Bayern Munich.

They finished one point off the pace and Scholes reflected on a spell in December when a number of defenders were sidelined at the same time.

He said: “We didn’t win what we wanted to but were not that far off. You do not want to use excuses but the injuries we had were shocking, really.

“Hopefully most of us can stay fit this year and hopefully we can go one step further than last season.” — Sapa-AFP

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