Football

Sven Goran-Eriksson explains Paul Scholes' decision to retire from international football

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England fans will always wonder how the national team failed to win anything with Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Paul Scholes all at their prime in the mid-2000's.

The Three Lions provided a glimmer of hope in Euro 2004 and at the 2006 World Cup but succumbed to Portugal on penalties in both tournaments - as so often proves to be the case.

But the so-called 'golden generation' will all genuinely feel they missed out on a huge opportunity to claim England's first major triumph since 1966.

Sven Goran-Eriksson toiled over a dilemma most managers would love to have: how do you get the three best English central midfielders of a generation in the same starting XI?

Reluctant to change from the tried and tested 4-4-2 formation, it often meant Scholes was shoved out onto the left wing in order to accommodate the Man United star alongside Gerrard and Lampard.

It still seems a pretty ridiculous concept now.

Scholes seemingly wasn't much of a fan of the idea either and subsequently opted to retire from international football at the relatively young age of 29 after Euro 2004.

"Paul Scholes had everything as a football player," Eriksson told The Mirror.

"It was a very sad for me, the day after the tournament in Portugal when he came to me and said, 'It's finished, I don’t want to play any more.'

"Of course I did! [try to change Scholes' mind] I said go home and we can talk about in a few weeks. I tried, but he said, ‘Sorry Sven, that’s it’.

Thirteen years on, Eriksson has revealed why the midfielder really wanted to hang up his boots.

Contrary to popular belief, it wasn't the Gerrard-Lampard issue that prompted the decision but Scholes' disliking for being away from home for so long while at major tournaments.

He added: "No. I think Paul didn’t like to stay in hotels. He’s a family man. Of course, if you go to the World Cup or Euros, it’s along time you stay together, so I think that was his main reason."

Of course, BT Sport has now found a way to get Scholes, Gerrard and Lampard in the same team by employing them as pundits for the upcoming campaign.

At least for punditry purposes, not completely being on the same page will make for fascinating viewing.

Topics:
Football
Frank Lampard

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