Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes has revealed his regret at turning down the opportunity to go to the World Cup with England this summer.
Scholes, who called time on his international career in 2004 after earning 66 caps, received an SOS call from Fabio Capello in May, offering the 35-year-old the chance to be part of his squad for the tournament in South Africa.
But Scholes declined the opportunity in order to spend more time with his family and watched on as England had a disastrous time of it, scraping through the group stages before crashing out to Germany in the last 16.
Scholes has since revealed that it was Capello's assistant, Franco Baldini, that spoke to him and that he was given just a few hours to make his decision.
But after saying no to Baldini, he admits that looking back now he made a mistake.
"I said no, but not straight away," Scholes told the Sunday Express. "He gave me an afternoon to decide.
"I spoke to the manager (Sir Alex Ferguson) and at first he thought maybe I should go because I was playing well.
"But it all happened a bit quickly. It was a little bit surreal. I didn't want to say yes and then regret it.
"If I'd have had a couple of weeks to make a decision I would definitely have gone.
"And watching the World Cup I wish I had gone. Following England's display, people said I must be thankful that I wasn't involved.
"I can honestly say that isn't the case."
Scholes' decision not to go to South Africa does at least mean the midfielder will be fresh for United's attempt to wrestle the Premier League title back to Old Trafford, which begins with the visit of Newcastle on Monday.
Chelsea's 6-0 demolition of West Brom on Saturday and a lack of big-money signings by Ferguson has seen pundits write off United's chances this term.
But Scholes insists that's just the way he likes it.
"That doesn't worry me," he added. "The three seasons in a row we won the league I don't think many people fancied us.
"The more people who don't think we are going to win it the better."