Hodgson praises Cole, but admits Baines could steal his spot in England team
England manager Roy Hodgson claims Ashley Cole isn’t being handed the respect he deserves for his services to the Three Lions. Ahead of England’s clash against Brazil, Roy Hodgson explained that the Chelsea defender shouldn’t be judged on his off-field issues.
Ashley Cole is set to become the latest member of England’s centurions in the friendly against Brazil on Wednesday. The 32-year-old left back has had quite a few problems off-field, which have cost the defender his reputation. Ashley Cole has probably been most scrutinized over his relationship with former wife Cheryl Cole. The couple divorced in 2010 after allegations were made that Ashley Cole had affairs with three other women.
“These are things that occurred in the distant past when I wasn't even in the country,” Roy Hodgson said. “And if I had been I wouldn't have been hanging on every word. The media have a lot of power and that does have an effect on people. It's a fact of life.
“If Ashley has had that treatment neither him or I can do anything about it. I judge him as a football player. Is he going to be the right man to help England win football matches? That's what really interests me. Over the last nine months I have found him a very good professional, who prefers to do his talking on the football field; but I see nothing wrong with that.”
Ashley Cole’s place in England’s first-team is in jeopardy because of Everton’s resurgent full back Leighton Baines. Roy Hodgson lauded the defender and admitted he is finding it tough to choose between Ashley Cole and Leighton Baines.
“Leighton doesn't have to do anything to prove himself,” Roy Hodgson continued. “He knows he's capable of playing for England at left-back, just as Ashley knows he's capable, which he has proved with a hundred caps. Ashley will play on Wednesday. Whether he will play the whole game, half or whether he will start, I still have to decide.
“It is a difficult one but they will just have to fight it out. The competition will be fierce and I'll have to make a decision - and I know that if the player plays well and we win I'll be held as having made the right decision; and if we play badly and lose I'll have made the wrong one.
“But that's how it should be for a top footballing nation. We should have a couple of good choices in each position. The Brazilians certainly do.”