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Paul Scholes 'Hated' Playing For England And Was 'Worried' About Reaction He'd Get If He Stopped Playing

Jack Kenmare

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Paul Scholes 'Hated' Playing For England And Was 'Worried' About Reaction He'd Get If He Stopped Playing

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Paul Scholes 'hated' playing for England and was 'worried' about the reaction he would get from the rest of the country if he stopped playing for the Three Lions, according to Mick Clegg.

Clegg, who is currently the first-team strength and conditioning coach at Manchester United, has opened up about the conversations he used to have with Scholes at the club's training ground at Carrington over a brew.

Image credit: Alamy
Image credit: Alamy

“I had a kettle in the gym so that I didn’t have to keep nipping up to the canteen for a brew," Clegg wrote in his book The Power and the Glory.

"Scholsey was always telling me to put the kettle on and one day we were having a chat about the Euros that summer. He said he hated playing for England, which came as a bit of a shock. I asked him why he kept turning up and he said ‘well it’s England, that’s what you have to do.’

"Paul was worried about the reaction he would get from the rest of the country if he stopped playing for England.

“I asked him if he’d ever felt the same way playing for his school team or with his mates or for United - and he said that was different. He loved that. I told him that he was being bullied into doing something that went against his own instincts. Not long afterwards, he packed in international football. Was it down to our chat? I don’t know because we never spoke about it again.

“I know he didn’t like being away from home. He was always a family man and he didn’t want to be away from his wife and kids. If you go away with England and you’re not happy then you’re not going to perform at your best on the pitch.”

Image credit: Alamy
Image credit: Alamy

Whenever he was called up, Scholes performed admirably for his country. In fact, Glenn Hoddle, who handed Scholes his England debut in 1997, says the midfielder was the best player he coached during his managerial career.

“As soon as I became England manager… he hadn’t been in the squad but I earmarked him and Becks [David Beckham] straight away to be brought in,” Hoddle told BT Sport.

“What I’d seen of him, he was just top, top quality. He then continued that for the next 15 years.

“He had everything. Everyone says to me, ‘Who is the best player you’ve coached?’. It’s Paul.”

Hoddle did say, however, that Scholes was not the complete package when he first arrived in the national squad.

“He had one thing that I think he had to improve on, and it wasn’t much really. I was forever trying to get him to stand on his feet and not see the red mist,” added the former Spurs and Chelsea midfielder.

“Because you could see that he wanted to win the ball and he went in sometimes… and I’m thinking ‘He’s going to get sent off a few times’.

“That was the only problem he had as a player. If that’s your only weakness then you’ve got a chance.

“He was excellent, his technique was second to none.”


Topics: Paul Scholes, Manchester United, England

Jack Kenmare
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