Ashley Cole named England captain against Ireland

first_imgChelsea left-back Ashley Cole will captain England for Wednesday night’s friendly with the Republic of Ireland as a tribute for reaching 100 caps.Manager Roy Hodgson had told a news conference Cole would lead the team out, but Frank Lampard would be captain in Steven Gerrard’s absence.But the England camp later insisted Cole, 32, was skipper.Hodgson said: “He has been a fantastic servant, not just for Arsenal and Chelsea but for England as well.”Cole will be making his 102nd appearance for England at Wembley on Wednesday after becoming the seventh player to reach a century of caps, against Brazil, in February.The Republic visit Wembley for the first time since 1991 as part of the Football Association’s 150th anniversary celebrations, a schedule that also includes a game in Brazil on Sunday. Hodgson said: “Frank’s always been the captain in Steve’s absence. I appointed him when I started over a year ago.“But in actual fact tomorrow – Frank and I have discussed this – Frank’s happy for Ashley to lead the team onto the field in celebration of his 100th cap, which he’ll receive tomorrow.“It’s actually his 102nd appearance. Frank and I are happy that he will lead the team out there but Frank still remains the captain of the team.” The FA later clarified Hodgson’s comments and insisted to BBC Sport that Cole would be skipper throughout the game.Lampard said: “The way he has performed, he has been the most consistent left-back in world football. The gesture is very much deserved and I am very happy for him.” Meanwhile, Hodgson has written to England supporters urging them to avoid any religious or political chants at Wembley.Crowd trouble marred the last time England and the Republic of Ireland met 18 years ago.“It’s very important,” Hodgson said. “It almost goes without saying that you want fans to respect the opposition and I’m hoping that happens, because tomorrow night is such an important part of the Football Association’s celebrations and I hope our fans are going to come and cheer us to victory.“I was very happy to send out the letter to try to make sure that the game is played in the right spirit, as I know it will be on the field.“I hope the fans, and the Irish fans, show the level of respect that we would expect for a game of this type. “I’m looking forward to it very much. Not only have the Republic of Ireland got a fantastic record, but they’ve reached major tournaments and have shown they’re a difficult team for any opponent.“I think it’s very fitting that we now play one of the other home nations and we know we’re going into the kind of quality game that will help us prepare for our important games in October.”last_img

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