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Cole to start in 100th England game

ESPN staff
February 5, 2013 « White tells Edgar: Don't go back to 155lbs | Chartbeat test »

Ashley Cole will make his 100th appearance for England against Brazil as a member of the starting XI after Roy Hodgson confirmed his place in the side on Tuesday afternoon.

The Chelsea left back made his international debut against Albania in 2001 and has been one of England's most consistent performers in the past 12 years.

Cole will become the seventh player to make 100 England appearances, following in the footsteps of Peter Shilton (125), David Beckham (115), Bobby Moore (108), Bobby Charlton (106), Billy Wright (105) and Steven Gerrard (100).

Asked if the defender would start, Hodgson told reporters: "Yes he will. He'll start the game, then I'll have to see what to do with Leighton (Baines), who has been doing very well. Ashley will definitely start.''

Hodgson did, however, rule out the possibility of Cole leading the side out at Wembley in place of captain Gerrard, who made his 100th appearance for England in last November's friendly with Sweden.

Hodgson said: "I don't see any reason why the captain should let anyone else lead the team out. Ashley does his talking and work on the field and I don't think he's ever pushed himself forward during his 100 appearances as a potential captain of the team. I think he's just very happy to be a key player in the team so I'm pretty certain he won't be trying to rip the armband off Steven tomorrow."

As Cole prepares to join national captain Gerrard among England's centurions, the Liverpool man agreed his team-mate should now be mentioned as an all-time great.

"I think he deserves to be in there,'' he told Sky Sports News. "I look at the players I played with throughout my career and I think he's been one of the most consistent.''

Despite the fanfare of a game organised to mark the FA's 150th anniversary, tomorrow serves mainly as a warm-up to two important World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro.

Gerrard added: "Its exciting times and I think the FA have produced some fantastic fixtures. We start against Brazil and I know it's a friendly but we want to go into the qualifiers in good shape.''

The Liverpool midfielder also backed his Arsenal contemporary Jack Wilshere to establish himself for England after missing almost a year of football due to injury.

He added: "I think if he stays fit he's got the talent and the ability to be a top player for Arsenal and for England. He's had a disappointing time with injuries and I've been there myself. I hope he can get a good run in the team.''

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