Former Newcastle United midfielder Kieron Dyer has expressed his disgust at how England failed to play Paul Scholes in his best position throughout his career.
The former Manchester United midfielder was infamously shunted out to the left hand side of midfield – a role he hardly ever played in under Sir Alex Ferguson – by Sven-Goran Erikson in order to make way for Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard.
He retired in August 2004, citing a desire to focus on his Man United career, and went on to claim a further nine major trophies at Old Trafford.
And Dyer, reflecting on Scholes’ international career, noted that England’s failure to recognise his talent was nothing short of a crime.
— United In Focus (@UnitedInFocus) February 13, 2018
Perhaps the biggest compliment that can be paid to Scholes is that he was, at least in the modern era, the least English player to ever play for England.
He did not, unlike pretty much every midfielder past and present, need to be strong, quick, physically imposing, or even manifestly passionate to establish himself as one of the best in the country.
But to place his natural talent at the centre of England’s plans would have required a complete shift in approach – exactly what was and still is needed – which no longer enshrined the above attributes.
This was never going to happen, of course, and even the notion that, since 2006, England have scored just once in the knockout phases of a major tournament isn’t enough to force those at the top to have a rethink.
Scholes was certainly right to hang up his international boots as early as he did.