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29 May 2024

Hodgson hopes ton-up Cole turns jeers to cheers

England's manager Roy Hodgson (right) speaks to Ashley Cole during a training session at the St George's Park training complex, England, on February 4, 2013. (AFP)


England manager Roy Hodgson hopes Ashley Cole will be treated with respect when the much-maligned Chelsea defender wins his 100th international cap in Wednesday's glamour friendly against Brazil.

Cole has endured a difficult relationship with English fans, who regard him as one of the poster boys for all that is wrong with the modern game, but Hodgson is keen to see the left-back given a good reception by the Wembley crowd when he reaches the impressive century landmark.

The 31-year-old will be just the seventh England player to reach 100 caps, joining the likes of David Beckham, Bobby Moore and Bobby Charlton, but unlike that trio there is little public affection for Cole.

Negative headlines have dogged Cole's private life and there is a perception he is greedy, sparked by the defender's revelation in his autobiography he nearly crashed his car in anger when told of Arsenal's offer of a what he believed was a relatively low wage increase.

However, Hodgson is a big fan of Cole as both a person and a player and he believes the public should hold him in the same regard.

"These are things that occurred in the distant past when I wasn't even in the country," said Hodgson.

"The media have a lot of power and that does have an effect on people. It's a fact of life.

"If Ashley has had that treatment neither him or I can do anything about it.

"I judge him as a football player. Is he going to be the right man to help England win football matches? That's what really interests me.

"Over the last nine months I have found him a very good professional, who prefers to do his talking on the football field; but I see nothing wrong with that."

Cole, who made his debut as a 20-year-old against Albania in Tirana in 2001, also retains the support of his team-mates and fellow defender Glen Johnson claims the star doesn't get the credit he deserves.

"The 100 caps is fantastic for Ashley and, for me, no one deserves it more," the Liverpool fullback said.

"As a player, he's been a proper pro for many years in the Premier League and done some great things in the game.

"He has been a key member of any team he has been involved with for season after season.

"Does he get the credit he deserves? Not at times, no. He's been in the set-up for such a long time, he's been a key player and consistent for many years.

"I certainly don't feel he deserves some of the stick he sometimes gets.

"He is very important for England. He started his 99 caps. If that doesn't tell a story, I don't know what does."