Gerrard: Cole deserves 100 caps

05 February 2013 10:17

Steven Gerrard wants England fans to recognise the contribution made by defender Ashley Cole during the past decade if he wins his 100th cap in Wednesday's friendly with Brazil at Wembley.

Cole has not always been the most popular player with England supporters despite the quality of his performances. But skipper Gerrard believes the Chelsea full-back has been England's most consistent performer during his time with the national side and at times the best left-back in the world.

"I think if the fans take a moment and have a think of what Ashley Cole has given in an England shirt over the last 10 or 12 years, it has been phenomenal," he said.

"He deserves to be a 100-cap player, there's no doubt about it. I think there have been years over the last 12 when Ashley Cole has been the best left-back in the world. He's probably been the most consistent player I've played with during my time with England.

"I think it's very important the Wembley crowd respect what Ashley has done for England. It's going to be Ashley's night - if he's picked to play - and the players are certainly going to show him a hell of a lot of support. Let's hope the fans do as well."

Gerrard, England's newly crowned Football Association player of the year, admits next month's crucial World Cup qualifier with Montenegro in Podgorica is already in his thoughts. Ukraine's recent disappointing results means it is looking a two-horse race between England and Montenegro for the automatic qualifying spot from Group H.

Gerrard said: "To play Brazil at Wembley is fantastic but there's a little bit in the mind that's already waiting for the Montenegro game because it is going to be a key game.

"You can't get away from that. With all due respect to San Marino (the game before), that's a match we should win comfortably, but Montenegro is going to be a massive game. If we can keep everybody fit then I'm really confident.

"I think there is a lot of hard work to do in the group still, that's for sure. We are certainly not underestimating where we are and how much there is to do. But if we get three points in Montenegro it puts us back in the driving seat. I think Ukraine have had a couple of disappointing results, which has helped us.

"At the moment it's looking like a two-horse race. If we can beat Montenegro in their back yard it's going to be good. We don't want to go into a play-off."

Source: PA