Ashley Cole must lose attitude to be recognised as world-class talent
It's unfashionable to praise the often obnoxious left-back, and it is undeniably true that the Ashley Cole Appreciation Society could convene in a Hobbit's potting-shed, but as a pure footballing talent he takes some beating. Ask Theo Walcott, who couldn't get past him. Ask Samir Nasri, brilliantly dispossessed on the edge of the box. Related ArticlesJohn Terry thanks Chelsea fans for supportMichael Ballack sticks boot into ArsenalThen there were two...What's French for 'd?agrave; vu'?Drogba: John Terry has our backingSport on televisionInevitably, the headlines belonged to that prolific bulldozer Didier Drogba and the defiant John Terry but Cole's vibrancy from back to front deserves acclaim. If a World XI were to be assembled, the one England international guaranteed selection would be Cole at left-back (with a respectful nod to Wayne Rooney making an increasingly formidable case for inclusion up front). Rooney speeds towards Footballer of the Year and Player of the Year honours but Cole? He's well known but not well liked. Defenders, particularly full-backs, rarely feature among the end-of-season garland-giving anyway. Cole's problem is not one of ability or application but image. So he has a choice to make. On June 2, England fly to South Africa and Cole will carry a fair bit of baggage with him, notably the public perception of a surly, money-driven, authority-challenging egotist. Pity. Cole is so much more. Athletic and technically accomplished, Cole is bound to acquit himself superbly at the World Cup, even if England falter. If he wants to change his image, to receive the recognition his talent deserves, he must ditch his chippy streak. FA's delay on crowning Rio Ferdinand as England captain adds to circus Is Rio Ferdinand really England captain? Yes he is, calm down, the armband saga's not taken another twist but please read on. The Football Association has not officially announced that Ferdinand has succeeded the ousted John Terry. Nor has Fabio Capello. Maybe they are cunningly waiting until the launch of the new England away kit, so maximising publicity. Maybe they do not want to unveil Ferdinand while he is serving a ban for violent conduct. If Ferdinand checked the FA website for any confirmation he would find only paeans to Terry's captaincy and how to get JT wallpaper. Strange.
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