Roy Hodgson pays tribute to Ashley Cole as the defender prepares to reach 100 caps
By Nicholas Veevers
Roy Hodgson has paid tribute to Ashley Cole, as the Chelsea star prepares to collect his 100th England cap next week.
The England Manager yesterday selected Cole in his squad to face Brazil at Wembley, after being unable to pick him for the game in Sweden last year due to injury.
But the 32-year-old is back to full fitness and been in good form with Chelsea over the last few months.
And Hodgson will be pleased to see Cole make the milestone in front of a sold-out Wembley crowd on Wednesday.
He said: “Reaching 100 matches is an incredible milestone, so he deserves an enormous pat on the back.
“Hopefully he will celebrate his 100 games in the same way Steven Gerrard was able to against Sweden.
“I am looking forward to congratulating him.”
Hodgson also spoke of his admiration for Cole’s dedication and attitude to playing for England.
The former Arsenal man made his England debut against Albania in 2001 and has since played in three World Cups and two European Championship Finals.
And having worked closely with him, Hodgson can see why Cole is often cited as one of the best left-backs in world football.
“I can only judge him over the last nine months,” he added. “He has been a pleasure to work with and a really good professional. It goes to show how consistent he is as a performer.
“He is a two-club man, he is not a player that has flitted from club to club to get a slightly better contract. He has dedicated his time to Arsenal and then Chelsea.
“Reputations are forged in different ways. I judge people on how I find them. He is a very serious footballer and a very nice person to deal with on the footballing front.
“He is a shy person and prefers his football to do the talking. He is quite happy for people to judge him on his football. Unfortunately, with the profile players have they will be judged in other areas.
“That doesn't affect me and hopefully it won't affect him on Wednesday.
“I am expecting people to give him the credit he deserves. If his reputation is this, that or the other hopefully it will be forgotten on Wednesday.”