Ashley Cole

Ashley Cole Retires from International Football after World Cup Omission

Chelsea left-back Ashley Cole has announced his retirement from international football following the decision of Three Lions coach, Roy Hodgson, to exclude him from the squad ahead of the 2014 FIFA World cup in Brazil this summer.

“I got the call from Roy and agree the England team should be about the young players. I think it best I retire from the England team now,” said Cole.

“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,” Cole said in a series of tweets on Sunday night from his official tweeter handle.

“Leighton Baines and Shaw are great players, proved this season, and are the future of this country; it was a pleasure to get 107 caps.

“Like me or not, trust me it’s hurt me to stop playing for my country #proud and #honoured.”

Cole, 33, has amassed 107 caps for England and featured for the Three Lions in three World cup finals. The Stepney-born player made his international debut for England after just four starts for the U-21s when he played against Albania in 2001.

Adjudged to be one of the best left-backs in the world, Cole has had an illustrious career starting with Arsenal. Cole began his youth career at Arsenal and made his full debut for the club in November 1999, going on to make a further 228 appearances, scoring nine goals.

With Arsenal he won two Premier League titles, three FA Cups, and was an integral member of “The Invincibles” team of the 2003–04 season, who went the entire league season undefeated. Cole also made an appearance in Arsenal’s first UEFA Champions League final in 2006; the club lost 2–1 to Barcelona.

In August 2006, after a protracted transfer saga, Cole completed a move to rival club Chelsea, with whom he won further honours, including the Premier League in the 2009–10 season, four FA Cups, one Football League Cup and one UEFA Champions League. With seven winners’ medals, Cole has won the FA Cup more times than any other player in history, and is one of two players to have won the double with two different clubs, along with Nicolas Anelka.

It remains to be seen where Cole will move to next season, especially with his contract situation in Chelsea yet to be sorted out, but clubs like Inter, Monaco, PSG and Real Madrid are all said to be interested. Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho only handed Cole 15 league starts this season, most of which came in the first half of the season, but Spain’s Cesar Azpilicueta was favored by Mourinho ahead of Cole.

Everton’s Leighton Baines and Southampton’s Luke Shaw, who is a subject of a £27m bid from Manchester United, are expected to be the choice players in the left-back positions when England play its first match of Brazil 2014 against the Azzurri of Italy.

Luke Shaw, who has just one international appearance, made 35 starts for the Saints this season but is expected to be second in the pecking order behind the more experienced Baines. One thing that England would miss however is a big game player like Ashley Cole, having shown many a time how influential he can be in big games and marking out big stars as well.

Oderinde Olufemi

Award-winning broadcast Journalist, sportscaster, and sports producer. Arsenal fan and supporter of the Super Eagles of Nigeria.