Roy Keane has given a damning verdict of the England set-up and has claimed that as well as wanting to spend more time with his family, Paul Scholes retired from international football because of how things worked behind the scenes.
“England have not done well at big tournaments and everyone is intrigued by it, but the priority for a lot of top players now is not international football,” said Keane. “Years ago, when players were starting out, the pinnacle was playing for your country, but it’s not like that any more – the pinnacle is winning League titles and playing in the Champions League at club level. There are a lot of rivalries within the squad, particularly with the clubs they are at, and some players don’t like what they see when the squad gets together. They don’t want to be part of it. Paul Scholes retired a few years ago because he was fed up with the kind of circus that was behind England with certain players trying to call the shots. There might be other genuine reasons why they don’t like it – a lot of players might have family problems and they don’t want the sacrifice of going away on long trips. And they might say, ‘I don’t need this hassle in my life’, particularly if they are at top clubs. But in international football, especially if they think there are certain favours going on or certain people are trying to call the shots, they just don’t want to be part of it. They think they have more to lose than to gain with England. I know Scholes used to be pissed off because there was a lot going on, much of it nothing to do with football.”