Fergie talks Scholes' future, England return
Prior to tomorrow night's UEFA Europa League last-32 encounter with Ajax at the Amsterdam Arena, Scholes has made seven appearances since his stunning retirement U-turn last month. Already the 37-year-old has made such an impression that he is being talked of as a candidate for England's UEFA EURO 2012 squad.
Fabio Capello made a failed bid to lure Scholes back to the international stage prior to the last FIFA World Cup™ and at the weekend, the Italian's likely replacement Harry Redknapp claimed he would love to have Scholes in his squad.
But Ferguson does not feel there is any way the veteran midfielder will abandon an England exile that dates back to the immediate aftermath of EURO 2004, when he tired of being selected out of position by Sven-Goran Eriksson.
"Do you really honestly believe that? I don't think there's any chance," said Ferguson. "His reason for refusing last time was that it was late in the day and he felt it was fair for the players who had got them there to be involved.
"To play for England after eight years would be a big step. I think Paul will be concentrating [on United] if he decides to go on of course," he said. "That is not settled yet. But with the form he is showing at the moment, there is no reason for me to think he couldn't do another season."
When Wayne Rooney was subsequently asked whether he would like Scholes alongside him in Poland and Ukraine this summer, the striker wisely steered a diplomatic course, stating it was the player's decision.
However, there is no disputing the impact he has had on United. Ferguson revealed he had, prior to the season starting, tried to reassure Scholes that he could contribute as much in 25 to 30 appearances as many of his team-mates could in an entire season. Scholes was unconvinced, hence his retirement, only to have second thoughts when coaching United's reserves did not prove to be quite as fulfilling as he imagined.
"I said to Paul he could play 25 to 30 games for me this season but he felt it was not enough and decided to retire," said Ferguson. "Although there are a few players, who by looking after themselves can get into their 30s really easily, I felt I was being sensible and honest with Paul because that was the future.
"When he decided to come back I was delighted," Ferguson went on. "He started training very hard in the couple of months before he came to see me because he had obviously realised he had made a mistake. He has come back refreshed and enthusiastic," he said. "He brings order and class to the team. Barcelona talk about Xavi the way we talk about Scholes."