Ashley Cole is England’s most-capped full-back.
By David Barber
Ashley Cole won his 86th cap in last night’s Euro 2012 Qualifier to equal a record. With Kenny Sansom, a Three Lions regular from 1979 to 1988, Cole is now England’s most-capped full-back in history.
Sansom, like Cole a left-back, made his League debut for Crystal Palace as a 16-year-old and won his first nine caps with the south London club. Ron Greenwood first chose him for a British Championship fixture against Wales at Wembley when he was 20. Short and stocky, he featured in the 1980 European Championship in Italy, the 1982 World Cup in Spain and was an ever-present in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.
He played in 37 consecutive internationals and his one England goal came during a World Cup Qualifier with Finland at Wembley in 1985. England won 5-0, Mark Hateley scoring twice.
Sven-Goran Eriksson handed Cole his senior debut in his third match in charge, a World Cup Qualifier against Albania in Tirana in 2001. By that time, he had played in fewer than 20 Premier League fixtures for Arsenal. He kept his place for the next six internationals and became a big tournament player, featuring in every match of the 2002 World Cup, Euro 2004 and the World Cups of 2006 and 2010.
Cole’s 85th appearance in Switzerland last month brought him level with Gary Neville. Now he leads the way with Sansom.