He is the quiet man of English football whose talent speaks louder than any other in his generation but Paul Scholes has twice told Steve McClaren that he does not want to return to international football since the new England manager took over the job in August.
McClaren admitted yesterday that he had contacted Scholes twice to try to persuade him out of the international retirement he took in Euro 2004 - but to no avail. The United midfielder, 31, has never shown any inclination to stray much further than Middleton, the Manchester suburb where he has spent his entire life, and even the end to the chaos that accompanied Sven Goran Eriksson's reign has not led him to reconsider.
McClaren said that he had contacted Scholes shortly after taking the job and again last week as he selected his squad for the 2008 European Championship qualifiers against Macedonia on Saturday and Croatia on 11 October. Although Scholes is hardly a like-for-like replacement for the injured Owen Hargreaves - the United midfielder's one weakness is his clumsiness in the tackle - he is still highly regarded by McClaren.
"He just wants to concentrate on playing for Manchester United and his family, which were the reasons for his decision when he retired from international football last time," McClaren told BBC Radio Five Live. "I respect those decisions and I don't expect to be asking him again. But the door is always open and I would never close it on Paul Scholes."
Sadly for David Beckham, who would relish the chance to come back to the England squad, McClaren, whose squad gather on Wednesday, was lukewarm about the prospects of the Real Madrid man being asked to come back.
"I stand by the reason why I made my decision over David. I'm looking to the future and the players coming through but the door is never closed to David Beckham. I keep up to date with Spanish football and Real Madrid are one of the teams that are on TV every weekend, so we'll keep abreast of the situation with David."Reuse content