Cole to be left back… in England during World Cup


Chelsea left back Ashley Cole’s hopes of starting for England at the World Cup, or even getting a call-up to the 23-man squad, are looking bleak.

The 106-capped former regular has played in just half the Premier League games this season and has been displaced for many of the matches since November by Spaniard Cesar Azpilicueta – a right back by trade.

Cole, now 33, has played no minutes for Chelsea in the league for their last five fixtures – despite being fit – and it is looking ever more likely that Leighton Baines will be the starter for England in their opening group World Cup game against Italy.

The Everton man, who was out on the sidelines for just over a month before Christmas, is back to fitness and played every minute of each league game since his return on December 29th.

Baines is now equal with Cole on the odds list to start the first World Cup match at 5/6, so this is a great bet to make.

It seems that if the former Arsenal player continues to be left on the bench, his place in the 23-man squad appears to be in serious jeopardy – despite his odds of 1/20 to make the plane – as Southampton’s Luke Shaw is making a really good claim for himself.

Shaw, who has also been seriously linked with Chelsea, has turned in some highly impressive performances this season, as he has helped the Saints to eighth place so far in the league. He has very enticing odds of 4/1 just to make the summer England squad.

Jose Mourinho, despite hinting that Cole will continue to be overlooked at club level, has stated that he still needs to be picked by Roy Hodgson as he will be fresh.

The Chelsea boss said: “I’m very happy with the way Azpilicueta is performing. I cannot think about national teams at the same time as thinking about my team.

“There are national-team managers who are very clear; they go with their players. It doesn’t matter if their players are playing in the club or not. They go with their players.

“Others are influenced by whether the player is playing or not. There are different theories. There are people who like players who didn’t play particularly well in the season. Why? Because they are fresher, stronger, have more energy, don’t have the mental fatigue of competition, and are more ready.”

Cole’s future for Chelsea and England looks set to be over by the summer, and with his contract expiring at the end of the season, what next for one the greatest full backs in the history of the game?

David Beckham is setting up a new MLS team in Miami, which could be an option. While the likes of Manchester United, Tottenham and Arsenal are all lacking in the left back department.

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