“I’d never seen that before and I never saw it again.”
Kieron Dyer has revealed that Paul Scholes was once given a “guard of honour” after an England training session because he had played so well. Dyer’s new autobiography, written with journalist Oliver Holt, is being serialised in The Daily Mail, and one of the stories from the book is about Scholes.
The former Manchester United midfielder only played 66 times for his country, scoring 14 goals, and opted to retire from international duty following Euro 2004. Scholes was only 29 at the time. The decision was primarily motivated by his desire to spend more time with his family, and prolong his club career, but many felt the midfielder wasn’t used correctly by then-manager Sven Goran Eriksson.
Eriksson played Scholes on the left side of midfield in a 4-4-2 formation at the tournament in Portugal. Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard occupied the two central midfield positions and captain David Beckham was on the right side of midfield. Most teams had shifted away from a 4-4-2 formation at the time, and few nations put their most creative and intelligent player on the wing. However, Scholes fell victim to England’s tactical illiteracy, and prematurely called time on his international career.
Dyer reckons England made a massive mistake, calling the decision to play Scholes out of position “disrespectful” and “one of the biggest crimes ever.” That might be going too far, but he has a point when he says Scholes wasn’t used…