Soccer-Eriksson begged me not to retire - Scholes

LONDON, Sept 26 - Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes says he is sticking by his decision to retire from international football, despite England manager Sven Goran-Eriksson's attempt to change his mind. Scholes, 29, turned his back on England after Euro 2004 having amassed 66 caps, scoring 14 goals. "I have no regrets about my decision to quit England -- none whatsoever," Scholes told British newspapers on Sunday. "Sven Goran-Eriksson has said the door would always be open if I wanted to come back, and I am grateful to him for that, but I am not sure I will be taking up his offer." When he announced his international retirement last month, Scholes said he planned to spend more time with his family and to prolong his club career. However, he now concedes that negative press coverage may have had a part in his decision. Scholes was often forced to play out of position in England's troublesome left wing berth and went three years without an international goal before scoring in his penultimate match, England's 4-2 group stage win over Croatia at Euro 2004. ENGLAND DISPLAYS Asked if criticism of his England displays had anything to do with his international retirement, he said: "Maybe it did, a tiny bit. Really it was a combination of things." France playmaker Zinedine Zidane and Czech Republic midfielder Pavel Nedved both opted to quit the international game after Scholes's decision as the demands on modern footballers force those at the highest level to make stark choices. Without Scholes, England have had a stuttering start to their World Cup qualifying campaign, drawing 2-2 with Austria in Vienna before a slightly fortuitous 2-1 win in Poland. "I didn't actually see (the Austria match), I was out," Scholes said. "I did watch the second game and thought it was a really tough game and England did well to win it." The quiet redhead can now concentrate on his Manchester United career and, after the club's 1-0 win at Tottenham on Saturday, the season is beginning to pick up after a slow beginning. "Hopefully my decision can benefit my United career," Scholes added. "The manager has brought in some new players and there is a real threat to players's places. We know we have to start winning games, but we never start really well."

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