Captain against Ireland, Ashley Cole says he has lived a schoolboy's dream
England 1-1 Republic of Ireland
8pm, Wednesday 29 May 2013
Ashley Cole thanked England fans for giving him an amazing reception after he captained the team in a 1-1 draw against Republic of Ireland and collected a golden cap for passing 100 international appearances.
Cole received his award before the match at Wembley and then led his team out in his 102nd game for his country after receiving a hero's reception.
He said: "I never expected to get 100 caps and to get the reception I got was amazing.
"I would like to thank the fans for that - I didn't expect it but it was a very proud moment for me and one I'll never forget."
Cole was offered the chance to captain the Three Lions even though Frank Lampard is officially the vice-captain in the absence of injured Steven Gerrard. And he denied he ever had any doubts about putting on the armband.
Cole added: "I wanted to be captain. I don't like speaking to the media and the press but it's a dream come true to be captain. I have lived a little boy's dream today."
Shane Long put Ireland ahead with a fine header before Lampard equalised and then England just failed to convert one of several second-half chances to win the game.
"It was a great atmosphere and Ireland's fans were very good," said Cole. "We knew it would be a tough game and when you look at if I think we would have deserved to win."
In fact, Cole himself could have got the winning goal himself following a flowing move in the second half - but he was denied by last-gasp defending.
So did he believe he was about to score his first ever goal for England?
"I thought so," he admitted. "It was a great ball from Wayne and a great cross from Theo and I tried my luck and thought I could get on the end of it.
"But to be fair it was great defending from the guy. So, yeah, my eyes lit up and I had my celebration ready but it wasn't to be!"