Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Captaincy's on Offer to Ashley; Cole Given Chance to Lead England despite Spat

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Captaincy's on Offer to Ashley; Cole Given Chance to Lead England despite Spat

Article excerpt

ENGLAND coach Roy Hodgson will not let Ashley Cole's recent stand-off with the Football Association prevent him asking the full-back if he wants to be captain for the friendly against the Republic of Ireland.

Cole was fined PS90,000 for the offensive Tweet he posted in October after an independent regulatory commission of the governing body investigating the John Terry racial abuse case had questioned his evidence.

It is just one of a series of unfortunate incidents that have erupted around the 31-year-old Chelsea man and have led to such a negative public perception of him.

For that reason alone, Cole will almost certainly refuse Hodgson's offer, made out of courtesy to a player who will be presented with the 100th cap he won against Brazil in February.

The mere fact Hodgson is prepared to give him the chance is significant, although, bizarrely, not in the manager's eyes.

"If we were to take into account everything that appeared about players that could have been regarded as vaguely defamatory against ourselves, we wouldn't have a team," said Hodgson.

"He felt he had been let down in some way and he apologised.

"I haven't spoken to him yet, but most players, when they receive their 100th cap, do get given the honour of captaining their country.

"Last time I spoke to Ashley about it he was more than happy to stay in the shadows rather than seek the limelight."

As expected, former Newcastle United striker Andy Carroll returns to Hodgson's 22-man squad, which travels to Brazil after the May 29 Ireland encounter for a symbolic meeting with the World Cup hosts at the famous Maracana Stadium on June 2. There was a surprise in yesterday's announcement, though, in the form of a first call-up for young Reading goalkeeper Alex McCarthy, who had such an outstanding climax to the campaign. …

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