Ashley Cole says he's just happy to play for England as he prepares to join 100-club
By Jamie Bradbury
, David Beckham
, Bobby Moore
, Bobby Charlton
, Billy Wright
, Steven Gerrard
After 12 years and 99 caps, Ashley Cole
will become only the seventh player to join that illustrious list when he steps out for England for the 100th time as they face Brazil tonight.
No other full-back has done likewise for the Three Lions, and what is also staggering is that in every one of those games Cole has started.
And against the Brazilians at Wembley Stadium it will be no different after Roy Hodgson confirmed that the 32-year-old will be in the England team from kick-off yet again
While it’s an amazing achievement, one that the 32-year-old is undoubtedly proud, when he spoke to TheFA.com in the build-up to the game, he was keen to focus on the job at hand – beating Brazil.
“It’s been a long time coming, 12 years of playing for England, so on Wednesday, if I play, it will be a proud moment for me and my family,” he said.
“I don’t what to say that it’s just another game for me. It is good that it’s 100 caps, but I want to win the game as well. It’s not just about me playing.”
Since pulling on the no. 3 jersey for the Three Lions for the first time in a World Cup qualifier in Albania, Cole has been a virtual first-choice England left-back.
It was Sven-Goran Eriksson who handed him his debut, and he has played for the three full-time bosses since the Swede left the helm in 2006.
He’s featured in three World Cups and two European Championships, and in his 99 games to date Cole has ended up on the losing side on just 13 occasions.
“I’d like to say I’ve been consistent for 12 years playing for England,” said the Londonder.
“I’ve gone through a few managers, but to know I have always been in squads and gone to tournaments makes you realise that you have done a good job for your clubs as well.”
He continued: “I’ve learned through my career when you do make mistakes, it’s how you bounce back.
“I’ve made a few gaffes in my time, but I’ve recovered well, tried to put it to the back of my mind and do something positive for the team.”
But, as he prepares for his milestone with England, one thing still eludes the 2010 England Player of the Year.
Despite scoring for each of the three club teams he’s played for; Arsenal, Crystal Palace and Chelsea, netting 17 in total, as well as one for England’s Under-21s, Cole is yet to hit the mark for the senior side.
So perhaps against Brazil, as he reaches this important landmark, he could finally celebrate a goal too?
“I would love to score for England,” he said. “But I’m just happy being on the pitch.”