Paul Scholes would have been tempted out of international retirement had England boss Fabio Capello asked him sooner.
The Manchester United midfielder, who called time on his England career six years ago, decided against reversing his decision ahead of the World Cup in South Africa.
But the 35-year-old revealed the decision had a lot to do with the timing of the enquiry from England's coach.
He says: “It's a big decision and I wasn't really given enough time to think about it, so I decided not to take up the offer.
“If they'd asked me earlier, I probably would have accepted.
“There are players in the squad who have spent nearly two years flying all around the world helping England qualify for the World Cup, whereas I haven't been involved for a long time.
“It wasn't a case of wanting to go on holiday, it was the fact that I got the call so close to the tournament, and also I didn't want to take the place of someone who helped get England to South Africa.
“The idea just didn't sit comfortably with me.”
Scholes also expressed sympathy for his club-mate Rio Ferdinand after a knee injury scuppered his chances of captaining England in South Africa.
“I really feel for Rio, especially getting hurt so close to the start of the action,” added Scholes. “It's not just sad for Rio but for England as well because he is captain and an important figure.”
Scholes has been coaching children in the United States but his first public words about missing the World Cup were heard after opening Chadderton Park FC's new clubhouse.