Ashley Cole should be banned from Twitter, not the England team, according to former Three Lions defender Gary Pallister.
Chelsea left-back Cole was on Tuesday facing an unprecedented social-media fine after being charged with misconduct by the Football Association over his foul-mouthed tweet about them. Ex-England captain Alan Shearer also called for the 31-year-old to be banned from playing in Friday's World Cup qualifier against San Marino. But Shearer's former international team-mate Pallister disagreed, insisting Cole and other professional players should be barred from posting on social media sites instead.
Speaking at the launch of the 'In the 90th' campaign, marking the 90th season of The Football Pools, the ex-Manchester United man said:
"I don't agree with the whole social networking/Twitter situation anyway. And I think clubs should be asking players not to get involved with it. "Time and again, we are seeing players getting involved, giving a gut or an instant reaction to something that has been said or something that has happened, and they put their foot in it. "Once you have tweeted something, you can't take it back. If you are not on there in the first place then it quashes it and you don't get into trouble, you don't get fines and suspensions." Cole was today bracing himself for the double-whammy of seeing his wages docked by his club and being forced to top up the FA's coffers, all for dubbing the latter a "bunch of t**ts".
Being fined two weeks' pay by the Blues would reportedly cost Cole around £240,000, with an FA punishment potentially pushing the total over a quarter of a million pounds, thought to be the heaviest punishment ever for a social-media offence.
Pallister added: "I think a fine will suffice. It is something he has said in the heat of the moment." Cole's outburst was sparked by the written judgment of the independent FA regulatory commission on the John Terry racist abuse case, which cast doubt on the evidence provided by the full-back in support of his Chelsea team-mate.
Pallister said: "We've all said things in the heat of the moment. And that was an instant reaction by him to being called a liar. "You can understand someone trying to stick up for himself. "But with the experience he has got, and what he has seen happen to others in the same sort of scenario, then he should have known better."
Cole was given until 4pm on Thursday to respond to yesterday's FA charge, the timing far from ideal given the deadline is barely 24 hours before England's World Cup qualifier with San Marino at Wembley. It is not thought there is any threat to Cole's chances of winning his 99th cap on Friday beyond the fact manager Roy Hodgson may elect to rest him ahead of the crucial trip to Poland four days later.