Wednesday 13 December 2017

Cole determined to remain first choice

Ashley Cole. Photo: Getty Images
Ashley Cole. Photo: Getty Images

Ashley Cole may be about to turn 30, but the left-back insists he is as enthusiastic as ever to remain first choice for Chelsea and England.

Fabio Capello today confirmed Arsenal youngster Kieran Gibbs will start against France at Wembley tomorrow night, with Cole having withdrawn from the squad because of an unspecified injury.

Earlier this season, Cole joined Kenny Sansom as the most capped England full-back and has an array of domestic medals from his time at Arsenal and Stamford Bridge.

However, he is all too aware the next generation are waiting in the wings, but feels his commitment to the cause burns bright as ever.

"You do get a bit reflective at this stage in your career," Cole told the London Evening Standard.

"There are a lot of youngsters coming through - we have Josh McEachran, who is 17, and you sit with him thinking: 'How old are you?'

"You do feel your age, but being on the pitch makes me feel young and enthusiastic and healthy. That's what keeps me going every day in training.

"I am just doing my job - playing as well as I can for Chelsea and trying to win things.

"I try my best for England, too, and what people think is out of my hands. I can't do anything about it."

Blues boss Carlo Ancelotti is in no doubt Cole ranks up there with the best left-backs in the world, comparing the England defender to AC Milan legend Paolo Maldini.

Cole, though, cannot see himself pressing on for as long as the veteran Italian did past his 40th birthday and suggested he intended to stay involved in football when he eventually retires.

"It may be something in the future I would try to learn from the people at Chelsea, but I have not really thought that far ahead," he said.

Press Association

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