The Oldham Evening Chronicle scored a World Cup exclusive yesterday when Paul Scholes told the paper the request for him to return to international football came too late.
The Manchester United midfield player, who retired from international football six years ago, made headlines last month by rejecting the chance to return to England duty after being contacted by Fabio Capello.
At the time Capello said Scholes, the veteran of two previous World Cups and two European Championships, preferred to say at home with his family.
Scholes told the Chronicle he’d declined the Italian’s request to again make himself available for selection as he didn’t feel he had been given enough time to consider his decision and that had the request come earlier he probably would have accepted.
The story from the regional daily was picked up yesterday by major news organisations covering England’s final warm-up game ahead of a World Cup opener against the USA on Saturday.
Chronicle sports reporter Chris Lynham, who has been on the paper for just a month, told Press Gazette he’d collared the exclusive after Scholes opened new changing facilities at a local non-league side, Chadderton Park Football Club.
‘The sports editor sent me along to chat to him about a number of things. He [Scholes] has strong Oldham links and after he’d cut the cord we had a chat,’Lynham said.
‘With him having this reputation of being a bit quiet you don’t know what you are going to get but it worked outâ€¦I think my natural charm shined through.”
Lynham, who spent eight years as the sports editor of the weekly Tameside Reporter before joining the Chronicle, said today he’d be swapping stories about the World Cup for coverage of club cricket in Ashton and Oldham and the story of a local ten-year-old table tennis star, Abigail Griffith.
‘I enjoy doing those stories just as much. It’s nice to speak to someone that’s been in the public eye for 15 years but its not a climb down at all [covering local table tennis],’he said.
‘The table tennis is just as likely to sell copies locally as the Scholes thing in a way because there will interested friends and relatives that will be looking for the paper.”