Hurst wants Scholes to play in World Cup

England legend Sir Geoff Hurst believes veteran Paul Scholes deserves to be part of the England World Cup squad this summer - if the midfielder can be persuaded to come out of international retirement.

Hurst has been hugely impressed with Scholes' appearances for Manchester United in the past few weeks in rekindling their hopes of winning the Barclays Premier League title.

And England's 1966 hat-trick hero feels Scholes has the kind of qualities that would enhance their chances of lifting the trophy for the first time in 44 years.

Hurst said: "If Paul Scholes changed his mind and came out of international retirement I would pick him, definitely, for the World Cup.

"You look at his last six to eight matches for United and his performances have been fantastic.

"A few months ago maybe he was only playing now and then and he was struggling from the physical point of view.

"But I have seen him in these last few games and he has been wonderful. He has been getting forward into the box and scoring important late goals.

"There is a position for him in the England squad this summer if he changes his mind. Six months ago I was not so sure but now I would say 'put him in'."

Hurst believes Fabio Capello should also find room in his starting eleven for James Milner but has cast doubts over whether his Aston Villa team-mate Emile Heskey should now be a first-choice player.

He would play Wayne Rooney as the only out-and-out striker with Steven Gerrard just behind him, which would allow room for Milner to operate in central midfield.

Hurst said: "There is a strong case for playing Rooney up front on his own like he does for United. I am not so sure he could have done that a year or two ago.

"I would have Gerrard just off the frontman, which is his best position, and that would make room for Milner in midfield.

"He has come on leaps and bounds in the last 12 months. He was on the periphery of the squad, now he is a certainty to go and you can make a strong case for him playing.

"In contrast, a year ago Emile Heskey was a certainty - but not now because he is not playing regularly for Aston Villa."

Hurst was speaking at Lilleshall National Sports Centre where the Northern Premier League today unveiled Evo-Stik as its new sponsor in an initial three-year deal.

Hurst, who was spotted by West Ham playing Sunday football in the Tandridge League, is an advocate for non-league football and its role in the development of the English game.

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