Ashley Cole Still Retains England World Cup Dream

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Ashley Cole Still Retains England  World Cup Dream
Alastair Grant

Chelsea and England left-back Ashley Cole has declared that he has not yet given up on his aspirations of playing in this summer's FIFA World Cup.

Cole, who boasts 107 caps to his name, is fighting Everton's Leighton Baines and Southampton's Luke Shaw for a place on the plane to Brazil but remains confident that he can still make the Three Lions squad.

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The 33-year-old, who was voted England's Player of the Year in 2010, has already represented his country at three consecutive World Cups and is determined to make it a fourth in Brazil.

According to Jack de Menezes of the Independent, Cole believes that his recent form puts him back in the frame for a spot in Roy Hodgson's 23-man squad. However, the Chelsea man did concede that he feels a little vilified by certain sections of the England support.

Cole told beIN Sports, via de Menezes, “There was probably a lot of pressure on me to fight for my England spot.

“Maybe not just my starting spot even - just to get on the plane. I think everyone wanted me to fail, to be honest.

“I think real football fans understand what I bring to a team and what I give to a team and if I do make it on the plane hopefully people can see that.”

Cole has had to settle for a largely superfluous role within Chelsea's squad this term, making just 17 starts and losing his place in Hodgson's England line-up in the process. It is an unfamiliar situation for the Chelsea full-back, who has been widely regarded as one of the world's best defenders for over a decade.

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

However, Cole has returned to the Blues' starting team within the last week, helping Jose Mourinho's men to two extremely impressive clean sheets against Atletico Madrid and Liverpool, respectively.

As per Charlie Skillen of the Daily Mail, those back-to-back clean sheets have enabled Cole to extend his personal run without conceding for club and county to an incredible 747 minutes.

More crucially, though, the manner of his performances in Chelsea's last two appearances prove that, even at this late stage of an exceptional career, the England man still offers a fantastic option for both club and country. Cole is still very much capable of playing at the very top level.

In fact, as reported by the Telegraph's Matt Law, Cole's recent resurrection has even led to Chelsea quickly expressing their desire for the defender to sign a new deal. It is believed that Cole, who is out of contract this summer, is in no rush to decide his future.

 

Should Cole be on the flight to Brazil? Post your thoughts below.

Stats courtesy of WhoScored.com.

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