Michael Owen felt Paul Scholes could have tipped the balance of England’s Euro 2012 quarter-final with Italy in the Three Lions’ favour.
England toppled out of the tournament on penalties, but that did not give a full impression of Italy’s dominance. Midfielder Andrea Pirlo controlled the game from the centre of the park, as England failed to get to grips with the brilliance of the Italian.
Owen, a scorer of 40 goals for his country, was hugely impressed with the display of Pirlo but felt England missed a trick by not having the option of Scholes available to them.
Scholes came out of retirement with Manchester United last season and such was his contribution, reports suggested he would be offered a place in England’s Euro 2012 squad. His name did not appear in the final 23 and there has been no word from England boss Roy Hodgson as to whether Scholes came under consideration, but Owen feels he could have been the Three Lions’ answer to Pirlo.
Taking to Twitter, Owen wrote: "Pirlo was awesome but we have a player of a similar age and equally as good. Unfortunately he wasn't there - Scholes.”
Owen feels a grassroots overhaul may be needed if England are to compete with the best sides in the international game.
He added: "Easy for people to say 'until we keep possession better we will never win anything'. We are not as good as others at doing that.
"We played to our strengths but are just not quite good enough. We were hoping to 'do a Chelsea'. If you are not the best team then you have to find an alternative way to win. The other option is to forget results for a while and start from scratch playing a different style.
"Doubt we have the type of players to do that though. Answer has to be to start coaching our youngsters a different brand of football."