‘Paul Scholes hated England duty,’ says Manchester United coach Mick Clegg

‘Paul Scholes HATED England duty’ – and quit internationals after ‘being told he was being ‘bullied” into playing reveals his former confidant at Manchester United, first-team coach Mick Clegg

  • Paul Scholes won 66 caps and scored 14 times for England from 1997-2004
  • But ex-Man United coach Mick Clegg has revealed Scholes ‘hated’ England duty
  • The pair had a heartfelt chat in 2004 with the midfielder making the admission
  • Clegg told Scholes he was being ‘bullied’ into representing his country
  • Scholes quit international football not long afterwards to focus on his club game

Paul Scholes ‘hated’ playing for England but was worried about the reaction he would get from the rest of the country if he quit and put Manchester United first.

The midfielder confessed all to Mick Clegg in 2004, with the United coach telling him he was being ‘bullied into doing something against his own instincts.’

Not long after their conversation Scholes announced he was quitting international football to spend more time with his family and concentrate on his club career.

Paul Scholes ‘hated’ international duty with England but was worried about the reaction from rival fans if he quit, according to former confidant at Man United Mick Clegg

The midfielder played 66 times for his country, including in the ill-fated Euro 2000 (pictured)

The midfielder played 66 times for his country, including in the ill-fated Euro 2000 (pictured)

Clegg, currently United’s strength and power development coach, has recalled their conversations about a cup of tea in his new book, The Power and the Glory.

‘I had a kettle in the gym so that I didn’t have to keep nipping up to the canteen for a brew,’ he writes.

‘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.

Scholes informed Sven-Goran Eriksson (left) he didn't want to be picked for England in 2004

Scholes informed Sven-Goran Eriksson (left) he didn’t want to be picked for England in 2004

Scholes scored 14 times for the Three Lions, including a hat-trick against Poland in 1999

Scholes scored 14 times for the Three Lions, including a hat-trick against Poland in 1999

‘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.

Scholes memorably scored twice against Scotland in a qualification play-off for Euro 2000

Scholes memorably scored twice against Scotland in a qualification play-off for Euro 2000

Scholes celebrates scoring in England's 4-2 win over Croatia at Euro 2004, his last tournament

Scholes celebrates scoring in England’s 4-2 win over Croatia at Euro 2004, his last tournament

‘If you go away with England and you’re not happy then you’re not going to perform at your best on the pitch.’

Scholes nonethless gave his all for England, scoring 14 times in 66 appearances for his country between 1997 and 2004.

He played at four major tournaments before informing manager Sven-Goran Eriksson in August 2004 that he no longer wished to be considered for selection.

Eriksson nor Glenn Hoddle or Kevin Keegan were able to get as much out of Scholes in international football as Sir Alex Ferguson did at Old Trafford.

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