World Cup - Cole retires from England duty after Brazil snub

Ashley Cole has retired from international football after being left out of Roy Hodgson's England squad for the World Cup.

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World Cup - Cole retires from England duty after Brazil snub
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Ashley Cole quit England after he missed out out on the World Cup squad

With the England squad set to be announced on Monday at 2pm, an apparent leak regarding the omission of Cole on Sunday night led the Chelsea left-back to confirm that he had been left out by Hodgson.

In a series of carefully worded tweets, Cole added that he would be stepping aside from England duty to allow youngsters into the fold, such as Southampton's Luke Shaw, who is expected to take his place in the 23-man squad.

He went on to praise his rivals for the position, and coach Hodgson, making it clear that - while upset - he held no grudges and felt the decision was for the best.

Cole, 33, has struggled to make Jose Mourinho's Chelsea XI this season, and had subsequently lost his England starting place to Leighton Baines.

The emergence of Shaw - who has reportedly been the subject of a £27 million bid from Manchester United - meant that Cole was always on the brink of missing out of the trip to Brazil.

Cole is most capped England left-back of all time, with 107 national team appearances. Widely regarded as having been one of the best players in his position globally, he rarely if ever let England down, but has lost a touch of his pace in recent years.

Mourinho's decision to use Spanish right-back Cesar Azpilicueta out of position on the left side of defence signalled the end of Cole's Chelsea career, with a move abroad expected this summer.

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Cole had been tipped to make the squad, though, after impressing in England's friendly win over Denmark, and getting back in the Chelsea team late in the season.

“Among many difficult decisions I've had to make for my squad, not selecting Ashley was one of the hardest," Hodgson said.

"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. He deserved to hear it directly from me and he took the news with huge grace,” continued Hodgson

“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."

Other reported England calls include Shaw's Southampton team-mate Adam Lallana, and Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson, who has shone alongside Steven Gerrard in an excellent season for the Reds.

Manchester United duo Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverley - who were vital players in qualifying - are set to miss out after enduring a woeful season for their club.

But the decision to cut Cole adrift would have been the biggest one for Hodgson, with the East London-born full-back renowned for his big-game temperament, having marked the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo out of matches before.

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