Ashley Cole retires from international football after England World Cup omission
Luke Shaw preferred over Cole as left-back cover for Leighton Baines
May 12th, 2014
England centurion Ashley Cole appears to have played his last game in a Three Lions shirt after Roy Hodgson decided to leave the Chelsea defender out of his 23-man squad for the 2014 World Cup.
Cole has struggled to get into the Blues first team this season and the rapid improvement of Luke Shaw in a Southampton shirt has led Hodgson to make the difficult decision of omitting a player who has been England’s most consistent performer in the past decade.
The decision by Hodgson suggests that he is going to opt for a youthful England squad for the forthcoming World Cup, with Raheem Sterling and Ross Barkley also expected to be on board the plane to Brazil.
Cole has 107 England caps and is the fifth most decorated player for the Three Lions, although he has graciously accepted that his international career has finished.
“I got the call from Roy and agree the England team should be about the young players,” Cole said. “I think it best I retire from [the] England team now. We have a great manager and team and I wish them only success. I will be supporting them like a true fan. Thanks to everyone for everything. Baines and Shaw are great players, [as] proved this season, and are the future of this country. It was a pleasure to get 107 caps.”
“Among many difficult decisions I’ve had to make for my squad, not selecting Ashley was one of the hardest,” Hodgson said. “To amass over a century of caps is a truly staggering achievement and he deserves enormous credit for the desire and brilliance which has shone through over the years he has represented his country. There are few players who can be considered among the very best in the world, but Ashley in his prime was the best left-back without question.”
Hodgson added: “The most important factor was speaking to Ashley prior to the announcement. He deserved to hear it directly from me and he took the news with huge grace. In two years working with him he has shown nothing but relentless professionalism, and a great hunger to play for England. He is someone I have the utmost respect for and I wished him all the best. He, in turn, wished the team well this summer. Of course I must respect his decision to retire, he has been one of England’s finest players, but I want to look to the future. It has been one of the hardest decisions of my career.”