Paul Scholes blames himself for failing to make an impact on the international stage and has ridiculed suggestions he ended his England career because of Sven-Goran Eriksson.
Scholes announced his retirement this week at the age of 36, just over one year after Fabio Capello failed with an audacious bid to persuade him to make himself available for England's World Cup campaign. If there are some who feel Scholes has hung up his boots too early, the belief that his England career ended before time is unanimous.
The midfielder was just 29 when he called time on his international involvement, having accumulated 66 caps, and Scholes said: "Maybe for half the games I played for England, I was all right. My England career started quite well. In the first 20 to 25 games I scored quite a few goals. From then on it just didn't go as well as I would have liked."
He added: "It was my fault for not playing as well as I should have done."
Scholes scored nine of his 14 England goals within two-and-a-half years of making his debut. And of the four he bagged during Eriksson's time in charge, three came during the Swede's first six months in the job.
As Scholes quit in the wake of Euro 2004, when he was moved into a wider position on the left, it was felt a resistance to being used in a role he did not like was a major factor, but he now declares that was not true.
"That was rubbish," he said. "Some people said I fell out with Sven because he played me on the left, but that was never the case.
"I'd played on the left at Manchester United for a couple of seasons, done well and scored a lot of goals.
"That was never an issue. It was just, for one reason or another it didn't work out."
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