Football - Paper Round: England captaincy tainted by Cole

The papers are outraged that Ashley Cole will lead England out against the Republic of Ireland in Wednesday night's friendly.

Football - Paper Round: England captaincy tainted by Cole

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Ashley Cole papers 29 05 13

"Captain Confusion - Cole to lead England as Hodgson gets in a muddle," is the Daily Telegraph's headline.

The Sun leads with a straight reference to Cole's outspoken criticism of the FA just a few months ago, which was apparently not bad enough to rob him of his chance to be captain: "Oct 5 2012: You t**ts; May 28 2013: I'm skipper".

The Sun's story explains that Cole was never expected to be captain, but had been asked as a courtesy: "Cole stunned the FA by accepting an offer to captain England tonight — seven months after calling them 'a bunch of t**ts'. Cole, 32, leads the Three Lions against Ireland at Wembley as a reward for passing 100 caps, despite being fined £90,000 for his Twitter rant.

"England boss Roy Hodgson expected him to turn down the gesture — as he had done previously. But he shocked FA bigwigs by saying yes."

That's not all: despite leading the team out at Wembley, Cole has refused to take on other traditional roles that come with the job, such as speaking to the media before and after the match.

The Telegraph's Henry Winter is particularly angry at the fiasco:

"The honour of captaining England on Wednesday will go to a player who has vilified the Football Association, shot a work experience boy, sworn at police and shown such disrespect to a referee that a scandalised FA brought in its Respect campaign. One of his most recent pronouncements on his Twitter feed was to tell some critic: 'bore of u mug'."

The Mail's Neil Ashton goes even further:

"By the time Roy Hodgson left the Sopwell House Hotel in Hertfordshire last night, the England captaincy had changed forever. You can shoot an intern at Chelsea’s training ground with an air rifle at point-blank range and still lead out the national team to commemorate your 100 England caps. You can call the Football Association a ‘bunch of t***s’ in an outburst that was re-tweeted 17,000 times before it was deleted and still be anointed England captain.

"And as of last night, if you don’t fancy the traditional address to the nation ahead of a sensitive fixture against the Republic of Ireland then — hey-ho — here’s the armband anyway. That is what the England captaincy has come to."

Tottenham are trying to land a huge double coup, the Sun reports, claiming that Spurs "are looking at a new £30 million strikeforce of David Villa and Leandro Damiao to fire them into the top four. Spurs were last night closing in on a £10m swoop for Barcelona’s Spanish striker Villa. And they hope to follow that up by landing Brazilian Damiao for £20m."

Arsenal are considering a £12m move for Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel, the Sun reports, with the Slovak keen to move after "what he described as the worst season of his Kop career".

Seems like there could be a stumbling block to that deal brewing in the form of a bit of bad blood, however, if the Mirror is to be believed. The paper reports that Liverpool are trying to hijack Arsenal target Clement Grenier, the Lyon playmaker valued at £12.8 million.

The Mirror also reports on Roberto Martinez's replacement at Wigan, claiming that Owen Coyle and Stuart Pearce are the two names currently top of the shortlist.

And finally, one of Jose Mourinho's first matches as Chelsea's new manager - assuming that he does indeed get the job - could be against Real Madrid, according to The Sun.

The two teams have entered an off-season exhibition tournament in the USA alongside Everton, AC Milan, Inter Milan, Juventus, Valencia and LA Galaxy, an event scheduled for late July and early August.

Each team is only guaranteed to play three matches, but Paper Round is sure the draws for these mini-tournaments are always fiddled - so it can almost be guaranteed that the two teams will go head to head at some point.

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