Cole set for 100th cap against Brazil
Published : 30 Jan 2013 15:47:23Rss feed
Ashley Cole is set to become the latest member of England's 100-club next week - but there is likely to be more interest in Roy Hodgson's midfield department when he names his squad to face Brazil.
Cole will be the seventh player to reach the landmark providing he faces the Samba stars at Wembley next Wednesday, following on from Peter Shilton, David Beckham, Bobby Moore, Bobby Charlton, Billy Wright and Steven Gerrard, who reached the milestone in Sweden last November.
Notoriously reluctant to speak with the media, there is unlikely to be any great fanfare for the 32-year-old, beyond a possible picture, and Cole has long since accepted any admiration for his undoubted talents will be tempered by the distaste for some of his general behaviour.
However, even with Leighton Baines pushing hard, there is still no dispute of Cole's status as England's first-choice left-back, which is more than can be said for Hodgson's midfield dilemma.
For the first time since he took the job last May, Hodgson has all his key midfielders available.
As skipper, Gerrard would be an automatic choice for England's mouth-watering start to a year where they expect to include World Cup qualification.
But what Hodgson must do is select additional names from a group that also includes Frank Lampard, Scott Parker - who has not featured for his country since starting every game at Euro 2012 due to injury - Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley and Jack Wilshere.
With an eye on the future, Wilshere is sure to be called up.
But Lampard, Parker and Carrick - who came out of the international wilderness at the start of last season following an intervention from Hodgson's assistant Gary Neville - cannot be so certain and their shelf life at the highest level is limited.