rss twitter facebook mobile

Nev: Desperate England Need Best English Midfielder

Gary Neville would be entitled to feel frustrated at being left out of Fabio Capello’s England squad, given the great experience he has as well as the fact he was United’s first choice right-back this season when fit. The media were also surprised to see his name missing, particularly given that Jamie Carragher is the only back up England have at right-back for Glen Johnson.

“I would not say I am overly disappointed,” Neville said. “I did think there was maybe a chance I could get in, but I was under no illusions how tough it would be after not being named in the squad for a year. I am slightly surprised there is only one right-back in the squad, but I am probably more surprised Wes Brown isn’t in the 30.”

Still, he’s not the only English United player not going to South Africa, after Sir Alex Ferguson told Capello that Hargreaves had to be removed from the squad and Paul Scholes rejected yet another call-up to come out of International retirement.

Neville today claimed that asking Scholes, who turns 36-years-old this year, to play in the World Cup stinks of desperation. Our captain argues that he is the best English midfielder but you have to wonder why Capello doesn’t believe he has any better options than a player who hasn’t played International football since June 2004.

“I am not surprised Capello tried to get him out of retirement,” he continued. “If there is one player I would try to pull out of retirement it is Paul Scholes. Capello maybe got a bit desperate at the last minute and wanted Scholes, who is probably still the best midfielder in England, but Paul decided to stick to his guns. Capello spoke to him but Scholes retired a good few years ago from international football and he is not the type to go back on that.”

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

View all posts by Scott »



  1. Giles Oakley says:

    Straight-talking as usual from Gary Nev. I agree with what he said, especially his surprise at Wes brown being left out. Carragher’s a good defender , if a bit of a chancer over playing by the rules, but as cover for right-back, a position he hates, makes no sense. Still, I won’t weep. I’m happy to see Gary and Scholsey save their tired old legs for United.

  2. theboogeyman says:

    Legends, the both of them.

  3. TheRedmod says:

    Top man our Gary…not only the best right -back in the country by a mile…but also an intelligent to go with it…unlike a lot of the so called media celebrity hoar’s that you get these days..thank god he’s ours…stick your England up your ARSE!!!

  4. Rai says:

    Even Jamie YSB Redknapp acknowledges Scholes greatness
    in this article (the last sentence anyway, the rest is all about Milner)

  5. The Big Red says:

    im actually happy that scholes and nev aint going to south africa, hopefully they will be fresh and injury free while gerrard n lampard will (hopefully) get a bone or two broken. i remember sven tried playng scholes on the left flank against portugal some years back and he scored after cutting in but kept moving inside from the left flank leaving cole alone to patrol the left flank. to think he got played out of position to accomodate twats like gerrard n lampard was a travesty. im glad hes sticking to his guns…

  6. Mannings says:

    If England want to win the world cup, they need Scholes. I think Capello has realised that for all the hype about Lampard and Gerrard, they don’t perform for England and don’t have the class of Scholes. England need a someone as technically good as Scholes who can destroy teams with his passing.

    As much as I hate Gerrard and Barry, they would work perfectly with Scholes. They could do the running, winning the ball and let Scholes just tear the defence apart with passes. With that midfield and Rooney up front, England could be a force to be a reckoned with.

    However, personally I love Scholes’ decision, I still don’t think England fans would give him the respect he deserves and instead he can have a summer relaxing and come back ready for next season!

  7. AlphaRS says:

    Man City have tabled a bid for James Milner.

  8. Paul Parker says:

    we all know Scholes is a better player than Lampard and Gerrard, the only reason this isn’t a universal truth amongst all football supporters is because he is roughly 4 years older than Lampard and 5 years older than Gerrard. He was playing at his best for United before those two were even playing regular football. Judge each player at their “peak” and even a Chelsea Fan can clearly see who the best England midfielder has always been.

    Right now Scholes is exactly what England need in the World Cup.

    When you look at the England Midfield, its Shockingly thin. Capello HAS to go with Lampard and Gerrard because who else would you trust in the middle of the Park? Same thing with Joe Cole, who else would you trust down the Left Wing for England? When you look at the Provisional Squad, you can appreicate how shit the England team actually is. Sven pissed the best chance England ever had up the wall. He should have built his team around Scholes instead of feeding into the Gerrard/Lampard debate. Only in England would having 3 brilliant midfielders be a Problem. Likeswise, only in England would the undisputed top goalscorer (Bent) be left behind because “he didn’t fit into the team”

    You build you team around the best players. Half these managers have no fucking clue. Capello has been the first in my lifetime that appears to have a mind of his own, but alas, the likes of Beckham and Scholes and Neville are no more, and Lampard, Gerrard, Terry and “young” Joe Cole are shadows of their former selves, and Ashley Cole, Rio and David James aren’t getting any younger. Like I said, Sven pissed this Country’s golden generation straight up the wall.

    No wonder Capello wants to change his contract to stay on for Euro 2012, the England squad is half dead. He needs to start from scratch and bring new players through. Only England could have prolific strikers like Rooney, Defoe and Bent but somehow insist that what we REALLY need is a big striker to hold up the ball for the little striker. Backwards. How about you just play free flowing attacking football and trust your talented players to produce? Like Rooney says himself he’s not the only match winner, so why do they insist on setting out the starting 11 like he is?

    England Play Primitive Football.

    Lets see if Capello can pull England kicking and screaming out of the Dark Ages.

  9. Costas says:

    Capello’s chase of Scholes and Hargo reeked of desperation.

  10. giggs11gerrard0 says:

    @Paul Parker

    Spot on mate, I have always said the same!

  11. NotoriousRedDevil says:

    Sven pissed nothing up the wall, the media do it to ingurland themselves. Every single tournament they go out to destroy the national team. Thankfully I care little and enjoy the disappointment on peoples faces when ingurland crash out. Neville tells it like it is about Capello. Capello is a hypocrite says players will only go by merit and game time then drafts caraagher and joe cole into the squad and tries to coerce Scholes out of retirement. He’s had 2 years to try and test some young players and clearly hasn’t. Will agree with him on bringing Dawson and King into the squad both have had outstanding seasons, but if King why no Neville?

  12. Paul Parker says:

    giggs11gerrard0 says:
    @Paul Parker

    Spot on mate, I have always said the same!

    Mate, the whole England situation is enough to drive you insane or into fits of laughter, or both lol.

    NotoriousRedDevil says:
    Sven pissed nothing up the wall, the media do it to ingurland themselves. Every single tournament they go out to destroy the national team.


    Agreed, the media DO deliberately set out to destroy the England team, but Sven did indeed Piss the best generation of England players I’ve ever seen up the wall. Imo anyway.

    He fucked up the Keeper position when David James and Paul Robinson were clearly 1 and 2. He fucked up the midfield by NOT building his team around Scholes. Then, after leaving Scholes out in the cold, he further fucked up the midfield by not accommodating Lampard and Gerrard into the same team, what the fuck was the problem? They both get forward? How was that ever a problem? Is the England Team so shit they can’t afford both Central Midfielders to get forward at any given time in a match for fear of conceding?? lol Bollocks. Then he fucked up the Strikers, how do you NOT take Bent but you DO take Walcott? And why the fuck was Heskey prefered over Defoe, Bent, Crouch or Cole?

    Sven didn’t have a fucking clue mate. This is the line up he should have played with, its not Rocket Science at the time this team picked itself.





    Did we ever see that team? Not even in a fucking friendly.

    Look at all that talent during his time at England Coach, Sven pissed it all up the wall mate. imagine if Alec had all those players at a younger age in his squad, he would have challenged for every Cup going and he would have won a few too.

    If Capello was going into the World Cup with that team he’d probably get to the Final. Instead he’s got a team of Old Men, Young Boys… and Rooney. God help him, lol, he’ll need it after the Honeymoon period is over. Im surprised teh Press has been so “well behaved” thus far.

  13. GTull says:

    Let’s face it, when England get knocked out, the nations media will need a scapegoat. Usually that’s a United player, at least we know it won’t be Scholes.

  14. Gotta hate tiny tears says:

    theswe men are legend-… wait for it… and I hope you’re not lactose intolerant because the second half of that word is DAIRY!

  15. NotoriousRedDevil says:

    @ Paul Parker – Point made, in the beginning I thought he had it right the only reason he played Stevie Me ME Me and Fat Frank in centre mid was because of media pressure. He should have fucked them off and done his own thing like right at the start of his tenure. We all know you can’t do that, that why Beckham was dropped out the ingurland squad under McClaren, why Terry although dropped as Captain is till in the squad and why Capello went back to Scholes cap in hand only to get 2 fingers. Brazil have dozens of world class players and some of them have to make do by sitting on the bench or not making the squad at all. Just because a team more than 2 good players in centre mid doesn’t mean you have to play them all in the same team, a concept the journos in this country can’t understand.

  16. Paul Parker says:

    NRD – thats it mate, I just don’t get the English mentality of forcing a clear as day square peg into a round hole. The set up is so rigid and set in stone that if one player is injured we’re all fucked and doomed apparently.

    But look at Germany, they’ve just lost Ballack, Central Midfielder and Captain. Do you think that will affect their team a great deal? Or their strategy? Or anything? Same with Brazil, they left out RONALDINHO who has actually been back to his threatening best this year. The fact Rafael kept him ‘fairly’ quiet speaks volumes. Look how many class players were left out this Year. Other managers have a better understand of TEAM ethics, thats how Greece won the Euros. England have enough players to get to the finals but the rigid predictable Rooney playing off Hesky bullshit is the Problem.

    There is far too much pressure on Rooney, thats why I was happy he reminded the press that he ISN’T the only match winner in the Squad. Defoe and Crouch have fired their team into Europe, Lampard has lead his team from the middle to score crucial goals to win a League, Bent has been prolific as ever this year. There is more to the England team than just Rooney, just like theres more to United.

    But the English Mentality? If Rooney did miss out through injury the Media would predict the Sky would fall, despite having Defoe, Crouch and Bent as perfectly feasable and proven alternatives. The Spanish wouldn’t have a heart attack if Villa and Torres were missing, they’d just bring in the next best thing and keep going. Portugal would continue without Ronaldo, etc.

    But England? Its a fucking joke mate, thats my main problem with the England Set Up, the mentality is Primitive, the Press worship smooth stones and shiney objects. For their sake I hope Capello drags the mentality into the 21 Century, because its embarrassing to say the least. England should be emmulating Greece instead of Hero Worshipping Rooney. The day the England team plays AS a team, they’ll win, but as long as the SOLE objective is simply to “get the ball to Rooney” England will never win anything. Two Flanks and a second striker but all hopes are always pinned on Rooney. Pathetic and Backwards.

  17. cantona7 says:

    @Paul Parker yeap that is the best line-up of the golden generation. If you can let the line-up picks himself then that is what you get but when you let Sven Goran Eriksson do it, he picks FA’s secretary who also has the initials F.A. haha

  18. GoatinaUnitedShirt says:


    It was a better set up when you were playing, lol

    The problem I feel with the England set up is we have too many Maradonas. Not the graceful explosive Maradona of 86 but the fat drug taking, journalist shooting version. In their heads the Gerrards the Lampards and Youngs the Downings the SWP the ……. can play a beautiful game but unfortunately the conection between the brain and foot is missing. How many times has anyone seen Gerrard turn a match, control a match from midfield (he get the crowd going but only when driving forward – leaving gaps at the back) same with Lampard if you took away the long shots what have you got. I honestly don’t think Gerrard or Lampard are better than our own Gibson and that is criminal when you think of the experience they have got. Parkers right about the team ethic, bloody hell Carragher said already that club is bigger than country, you may or may not agree, thats an individuals perogative BUT would you if manager of Manchester United play a player who said England is bigger than United or would you play an up and coming player who would show a little more passion to your cause. I would much prefer to see a spirited display with players picked from teams like Everton, Villa, Fulham and Stoke, players who don the England shirt with pride and realise that England is bigger than their teams than watch the money grabbing and limelight seeking Gerrards and Terrys and Lampards etc….. I don’t believe the same goes for the United players as I honestly believe Sir Alex only pick people with a proffesional mind set that is solely focused on winning anything they go for, whether it be football, quizes, cards golf etc. A United player could do alot for an England team even though the United fans seem rightly dissillusioned with the whole charade.

  19. Paul Parker says:

    @ GoatinaUnitedShirt

    haha, ah yes, back when I was a young lad…..

    @ Cantona7

    I laugh but in all honesty, why did we never see that team? Brazil, Spain, Argentina, Etc they take pride in picking their absolute best team and playing free flowing football. The decision to leave Bent at home when he held the Golden Boot amongst English Strikers just sums up the “Small Country/Club” mentality of England compared to the real powerhouses of Interational Football today. Its sad really.

  20. Bebeto says:

    Why is everybody so surprised by Brown’s exclusion? There’s a serious bias when it comes to him. His defending this season hasn’t been anything to write home about. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve seen him beaten for pace… Arshavin had him running in circles at the Emirates. Evans – who needed the calming influence of a senior player alongside him – practically ended up running our defence during the absence of Vidic and Rio.

    Not only is he not been good, he also hasn’t been playing as much as he needs to. Also, given that he’s a defender, it isn’t even like he’s some genius who you’d take in the knowledge that he could turn a game.

    Stick with Carragher. If any player is going to mess up and get vilified by the fickle England support, I’d rather it not be another one of ours.

  21. ashhotjet90 says:

    England can manage with the present midfield against most of the teams , Scholes has to be there if England intend to keep the ball against Xavi , Iniesta etc , he’s the only one who can match up to them and go one better . Recall 2008 , UCL semis , i watched the match recently , Carrick had a better game than Xavi there , Deco was their major creative force , Xavi was just part of the team .

  22. Fze123 says:

    @ Bebeto, exlusion is probably due to the fact that he didn’t play enough games this season. When he recovered from an injury, he played a few games then got injured again. Story of his season. Carragher is more injury prone, so why Capello picked him instead, I don’t know. Anyway, I agree that Wes hasn’t been playing well, but how many times did he play at RB – his best position – this season? Twice? The only game he played well in at CB this season was against Chelsea away paired with Evans. If he was given a long run in his position then he would have gradually rediscovered his best and put in more solid performances.

  23. Danillaço says:

    I don’t think it’s desperation to try and get Scholes in the England squad. Come on, be honest with yourselves, having a guy like Legend Paul Scholes wouldn’t you do the exact same?

  24. willierednut says:

    Danillaco – I don’t think Gary meant it in that aspect, Capellos probably worried about the thugs form.

  25. redscot says:

    My dissapointment is we are not going to see any kissing(with out tongues and deep throat) lmao.
    Seriously I am glad they and all the players who are not in South Africa are gonna get a nice relaxing rest and naturally wish all the United players competing a safe and succesfull tournament.
    I realise as all fans do, that players that are at the twighlight time of there carreers would wish to be involved in such a prestigous tournament but sometimes you just got to recognise with grace and sense my time is past.
    This and all of Capellos stubborness and just makes me think he does not understand stratedgy.
    Wanna a game of chess Senior?
    In fairness Gary who else has retired early thats worth there salt to play for England(of this Era). In my opinion thats commitment and loyalty.
    Enjoy your time off lads, Wes Gary Paul Micheal Edwin Antonio Owen John, I cant name the rest be like a stalking list! lol
    Come back stronger and fitter and mean!
    Come on England, oops I meant France, nope I meant Honduras really.

  26. redscot says:

    To all you boys that copy and repeat my sayings and thoughts. I am real WOTCHING Red rants, i dont play to the flavour of the month. I wotch my football, dont care for playstation or x box or nuffing to do with games on imaginary,

  27. redscot says:

    Scott pray delete that its half finished rant! i beg you lmao

  28. Marq says:

    I just want to say, for this season, any clear minded fan can see that Scholes has been in better form than Gerrard. Not that Steve Me will agree as he will point out that he “won” the league.

    So no surprise that Capello tried to get Scholes in.

  29. united4ever says:

    Scholes would’ve been great for England, but he has made his choice and should be respected for it. When it comes to right-backs, I don’t think England has many good options (including Gary). It’s surprising that no good player has evolved to take on this role.

    On another note, it seems that fergie doesn’t intend to buy more than one player. I thought we wanted to win ????????


You must be logged in to post a comment.