Football: Scholes doubt for World Cup

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PAUL SCHOLES may miss the World Cup. The Manchester United attacker needs an operation on a persistent knee injury and the club may be forced to leave it until the end of the season as United attempt to retain the Premiership title, writes Glenn Moore. That would appear to rule him out of the finals as he would have less than seven weeks to recover match fitness before England's first game.

Even if United were persuaded to wait until after the World Cup, Scholes would be unlikely to be able to take part as his knee would not stand up to the strain of the World Cup programme.

"The problem started around Christmas," United's manager, Alex Ferguson, said. "We didn't know then whether to give him the operation. We rested him for a bit and it improved but it has become a problem again. We had to play him tonight but played him wide as he would have struggled to get about the pitch."

As it was Scholes lasted only until half-time and Ferguson added: "We now need to decide whether to have the operation now or use him sparingly during the rest of the season. We only have seven games left and he can now have 10 days' rest."

Scholes burst on to the England scene last year and had been billed as a possible replacement for the injury-troubled Paul Gascoigne.