Capello: I tried to get Scholes
Fabio Capello made an amazing last-gasp bid to lure Paul Scholes out of international retirement and into his World Cup squad. Having successfully persuaded Liverpool's Jamie Carragher back into the fold, the England coach approached the 35-year-old United midfielder hoping he would end his seven-year exile from the national side. But Scholes, who last played for England in the 2004 European Championships, turned down the offer. "Yes (I spoke to him) but it was up to him," Capello confirmed as he announced his provisional 30-man squad for the World Cup. "He said no, he preferred to stay with the family. But I tried." Scholes quit the England scene before he had reached his 30th birthday having mulled over the decision for 12 months. His 66th and last cap came in the Euro 2004 quarter-final defeat by Portugal, after which he told then boss Sven-Goran Eriksson of his plans to quit. "I started my England career in 1997 and enjoyed seven years of great football, playing in the best competitions, with some of the best players, under the best managers," said Scholes. "Euro 2004 was fantastic but afterwards I felt the time was right for myself and my family to make it my last England appearance." Family man Scholes was never a keen traveller and spending time away from home on top of his United commitments was too much. Capello verdict Ex-Reds assistant Steve McClaren tried to talk Scholes into a return during his reign as national manager but his invite was turned down. Now Capello has been given a polite cold shoulder from the United veteran, who has just signed new a 12-month Old Trafford deal after another impressive season with the Reds. It seems like Gary Neville's international career is now also over after he was overlooked by Capello, with fellow United players Wes Brown and Owen Hargreaves also missing out. Although reports suggested the injury-prone United midfielder would be included despite having played just 30 seconds of first-team football this season, the England boss admitted Hargreaves isn't ready to play in the World Cup. "I spoke to Owen twice in Manchester and he's not fit, not ready to play," said Capello. "He didn't play for 18 months and for that reason, I can't select him. He's a really important player when he is fit." After a long chat with Sir Alex Ferguson, Capello insists he has no worries in taking captain Rio Ferdinand to South Africa, even though he has had an injury-hit season, playing just 12 games in the Premier League. "I spoke for a long time to Sir Alex Ferguson and he told me Rio is fit, he can play, no problems," explained the Italian. Capello also played down any fears over Wayne Rooney, who limped off with a groin strain during United's match against Stoke at Old Trafford on Sunday. "I am not concerned," he said. Meanwhile, the controversial `Capello Index' project has been shelved until after the World Cup. The England coach created a storm of controversy by putting his name to the project in which players' performances in the World Cup were rated. But after a meeting between Capello and senior FA staff on Tuesday, the launch will be suspended. How long can Scholes keep going at United? Have your say.
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