Beckham's loyalty to England puts Scholes firmly in shade

I believe Paul Scholes is a truly world-class footballer and, in many ways, a fine professional and role model.

However, the players who represented England in South Africa sacrificed a large chunk of their summer break to spend an extended period away from their families among individuals with whom they may have nothing in common but a shared livelihood. They put their reputations on the line for their country and returned, at best diminished and, at worst, reviled.

Now, a refreshed Scholes, his glowing reputation intact having opted out of international football, is able to strut his stuff in the Community Shield match while some of his jaded England counterparts are abused by the crowd.

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In fairness, Scholes has been steadfast in putting his employer before his country and his decision bears no rancour to the authorities but the comparison with David Beckham, a lesser player in my view but England through and through, is hard to escape.

From Brian Sheridan, Redmires Road, Sheffield.

From: Simon Foster, Curlew Close, Beverley, North Humberside.

A LESSON in sport.

The outstanding performances, exceptional behaviour and humility demonstrated by the GB athletes in the European Championships in Barcelona should be applauded.

What a refreshing and uplifting experience compared with the lacklustre often 'dire' performances from the England football team at the recent World Cup.

The team spirit, enthusiasm and sheer enjoyment exhibited by the young athletes is a real lesson for our indifferent footballers.

From: Tim Mickleburgh, Littlefield Lane, Grimsby

Watching the TV coverage of the recent rugby league Challenge Cup semi-finals, I was impressed by the way that clocks stopped for any breaks in play, rather than leaving it to the referee to add on minutes of stoppage time at the end of each session.

This is a better system than applies in football, and I would urge the authorities in charge of the latter to take note.

From: David Bradley, Horbury, Wakefield

I really don't know who England football coach Fabio Capello is trying to kid with his team selection.

It looked obvious from the World Cup that some players kidded him about being fit, Barry, Ferdinand and Rooney.

Others should never be picked again. Gerrard, the most overrated player in England, cramps Lampard because he can't be relied on to keep to the game plan.

James, Green, Upson and Johnson aren't good enough, why no Scott Parker?

A good right-back? What about Gary Neville, not popular in Leeds but a good competitor. He should start again, leaving out Terry and the rest of the moneybags who looked as if it was a chore for them.

From: Kevin Maguire, Hanover Street, Batley

THE attendances at football, especially in the Carling Cup for the first round this past week, have been abysmal. No doubt they will improve as a Wembley appearance gets closer in later rounds.

This country is in the throes of a depression. Do the Football League and the FA take this into account when setting the price for attendance at football matches?

We can rest assured that players' salaries will be maintained and possibly increased. No-one can blame the players – that is down to the clubs – but it is spectators who create the atmosphere.