Cole announces England retirement after World Cup omission

Chelsea and England left-back Ashley Cole has announced his retirement from international football after revealing that he will not be selected in the squad for this summer’s World Cup, BBC Sport has reported.

Roy Hodgson does not officially announce his 23-man squad for Brazil until Monday afternoon, but Cole revealed on Twitter on Sunday evening that he had been left out after receiving a telephone call from the England boss.

He said: “I got the call from Roy and agree the England team should be about the young players. I think it best I retire from the 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.”

Leighton Baines is set to be England’s first choice left-back for the tournament, which starts on July 12, while Southampton’s Luke Shaw, 18, is widely expected to join the Everton man as Hodgson looks to the long-term future of the national team.

For Cole, it ends an international career which began in March 2001 against Albania, and since then he has gone on to win 107 England caps, playing at the World Cups and two European Championships.

And Hodgson congratulated Cole on his illustrious England career, saying: “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.

“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.”

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