HODGSON PRAISE FOR COLE FOLLOWING ENGLAND RETIREMENT

Ashley Cole retired from international football on Sunday night after an England career in which he won 107 caps.

The Chelsea left-back announced his decision via Twitter, posting:

‘I got the call from Roy [Hodgson] and agree England team should be about the young players. I think it best I retire from England team now.

‘We have a great manager and team and I wish them only success. I will be supporting them like a true fan. Thanks to everyone for everything.’

The England manager Roy Hodgson, who will name his squad for the World Cup on Monday afternoon, said on the FA website, TheFA.com:

‘Among many difficult decisions I’ve had to make for my squad, not selecting Ashley was one of the hardest.

‘He’s been an incredible competitor for England, to amass over a century of caps is a truly staggering achievement and he deserves enormous credit for the desire and brilliance which has shone through over the years he has represented his country.

‘There are few players who can be considered among the very best in the world, but Ashley in his prime was the best left back without question.’

‘The most important factor was speaking to Ashley prior to the announcement on Monday, he deserved to hear it directly from me and he took the news with huge grace.

‘In two years working with him he has shown nothing but relentless professionalism, and a great hunger to play for England. He is someone I have the utmost respect for and I wished him all the best, he in turn wished the team well this summer.

‘Of course I must respect his decision to retire, he has been one of England’s finest players, but I want to look to the future.

‘It has been one of the hardest decisions of my career.’

Cole represented England at three World Cup finals having made his debut in March 2001.

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