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Cole set to turn down England captain role

Ashley Cole is likely to reject Roy Hodgson's offer to captain England in celebration of the full-back's 100th cap for his country, although he could still lead the team on to the pitch.

With Cole uncomfortable with the media attention the captaincy brings, Hodgson will assess the fitness of Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard before deciding on his captain against the Republic of Ireland. Lampard normally takes the honour in Steven Gerrard's absence but he has just returned from Chelsea's post-season tour to the US and may be rested, while Rooney has not played since May 5.

There is little chance that Cole, 32, will accept the captaincy but Hodgson will nevertheless offer it to him just seven months after the left-back branded the FA a "bunch of t****" following the findings in the John Terry-Anton Ferdinand case. Cole was fined £90,000 and apologised.

England fly to Rio de Janeiro after Wednesday's match to face Brazil next Sunday in another friendly to mark the FA's 150th anniversary. Hodgson could field two vastly altered teams in the two matches, although with England's World Cup qualification in the balance, he is determined to take the games seriously. He wants to give Phil Jones an opportunity to stake his claim as central defender, possibly paired with Phil Jagielka. Hodgson has also been impressed by the form of Gary Cahill.

Irish Independent