Paul Scholes “hated” playing for England and showed up for national team duty because “that’s what you have to do”.
This is according to Mick Clegg, who is currently the first-team strength and conditioning coach at Manchester United, and has opened up about the conversations he used to have with Scholes at the club’s training ground at Carrington in his new book The Power and the Glory.
When speaking about a chat he once had with the former United midfielder involving England, Clegg revealed:
“Scholsey was always telling me to put the kettle on and one day we were having a chat about the Euros that summer. He said he hated playing for England, which came as a bit of a shock. I asked him why he kept turning up and he said ‘well it’s England, that’s what you have to do.
“Paul was worried about the reaction he would get from the rest of the country if he stopped playing for England.
“I asked him if he’d ever felt the same way playing for his school team or with his mates or for United – and he said that was different. He loved that. I told him that he was being bullied into doing something that went against his own instincts. Not long afterwards, he packed in international football. Was it down to our chat? I don’t know because we never spoke about it again.
“I know he didn’t like being away from home. He was always a family man and he didn’t want to be away from his wife and kids. If you go away with England and you’re not happy then you’re not going to perform at your best on the pitch.”
Scholes made his debut for England in a 2-1 win against South Africa at Old Trafford in 1997 and went on to earn 66 caps for the Three Lions. The Man United legend is more known for his performances in a red shirt than a white one but performed admirably whenever he got the chance to put on an England shirt.
Scholes retired from international duty at the age of 29 after the Euro’s in 2004 and later admitted to BBC 5Live that he regretted “leaving England so soon”.
As Clegg says, was it down to their chat?