Scholes return imperative for England


Harry Redknapp's assertion that Paul Scholes should represent England at Euro 2012 is likely to be a view shared by many, and one that was inevitable as soon as the Manchester United midfielder reversed his decision to retire.

Scholes lowered the curtain on his illustrious Old Trafford career at the end of last season, but returned in January to bolster a threadbare United midfield.

The 37-year-old has, somewhat unsurprisingly, looked cultured and assured in the heart of Sir Alex Ferguson's midfield, and will undoubtedly continue to feature prominently for the remainder of the season.

Scholes' form since his comeback has prompted suggestions that he should be considered for the European Championships this summer, and the veteran has the unequivocal backing of Redknapp.

"You'd love to have Paul Scholes in the Euros this year," the Tottenham manager said, according to The Sun.

"He'd be in your team, he's that good. You'd love him to play.

"He plays like a Spaniard - he can play like Xavi, like Iniesta, he doesn't give the ball away."

Redknapp could, of course, be the England boss when the Euros begin in June, but if he is appointed he will face the difficult task of persuading Scholes to end his international hiatus.

Scholes has not represented his country since 2004, when he decided to call time on his career after England lost to Portugal in the quarter-final of that summer's European Championships.

"It's straightforward - he wants to spend more time with his family," said Sir Alex Ferguson at the time.

Since then, Scholes has resisted the overtures of both Steve McLaren and Fabio Capello, with the latter having asked him to be part of England's squad for the 2010 World Cup.

However, although Capello claimed Scholes snubbed his offer in order to spend the summer with his family, the United maestro said he would have gone to South Africa if he had been approached earlier.

“It’s a big decision and I wasn’t really given enough time to think about it,” Scholes explained.

“If they’d asked me earlier I probably would have accepted."

This will provide Redknapp, or whoever is at the helm this summer, hope that Scholes would consider a sojourn to Poland and Ukraine and, in turn, significantly enhance England's chances of winning the tournament.

Scholes is, without question, the finest English midfielder of his generation - just ask Zinedine Zidane and Xavi - and his inclusion in the squad for Euro 2012 is imperative.

Although he can boast 66 appearances for his country, Schole's international career was one unfulfilled, not just as a team but also as an individual.

Scholes scored just once in his final three years playing for England, and had to endure calls suggesting he should be dropped by then manager Sven-Goran Eriksson.

There was always the sense that Eriksson under-appreciated Scholes, and often required him to play in wide positions in order to accommodate younger duo Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard.

However, should he return England fold, Scholes must feature prominently at Euro 2012, regardless of the form of Lampard or Gerrard, or the potential return of Jack Wilshere.

This summer will be the last opportunity any England manager will have to use the supreme talents of Scholes, and his addition could prove to be more important than the return of Wayne Rooney for the latter stages of the tournament.

Scholes will not be around for much longer - it is crucial the next England manager utilises him to his full capacity.

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