Ray Wilkins: Scholes could have been England's Pirlo

The former Chelsea coach believes Manchester United's midfield maestro could have been the Three Lions' equivalent to the Azzurri's mercurial playmaker at Euro 2012
Ray Wilkins believes England could have had their own Andrea Pirlo at Euro 2012 had Paul Scholes been convinced to play.

The Manchester United midfielder was capped 66 times by the Three Lions, scoring 14 goals, before retiring from international football in 2004 at the age of just 30 following the European Championship in Portugal.

Despite rumours of a return both under Steve McClaren and Fabio Capello, Scholes never featured again for England before eventually retiring from the game completely in 2011.

However, the 37-year-old returned to football in January for United, displaying impressive form and Wilkins believes, similarly to Pirlo, he would have made a big impact in Poland and Ukraine if he had been convinced to come out of his international retirement.

The former Chelsea coach told talkSPORT: “England do have their own Andrea Pirlo, and it’s Paul Scholes.

“He’s a couple of years older but he is equally as good, if not better.

“I just wish someone could have convinced him to go to Euro 2012. England could have got hold of the ball and then played some football.”

The Three Lions exited the tournament at the quarter-final stage after losing 4-2 on penalties to Italy.