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Chelsea defender in shock retirement following England rejection



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Chelsea stalwart Ashley Cole revealed late on Sunday evening that he had received a phone call from Roy Hodgson confirming his omission from England’s World Cup squad, and that he is to retire from international duty with immediate effect.


The 33-year-old defender, who has also been marginalised this season at club level under Jose Mourinho, wrote on Twitter that he had been given the bad news early, with the England squad for this summer’s tournament in Brazil to be announced at 14:00GMT, which all-but-confirms Southampton youngster Luke Shaw’s selection for South America.

It had been deemed as a straight fight between the pair, with some seeing Cole’s big game experience as the reason for his selection, while others deem Shaw to be the England’s future in the position, and that he should be integrated into the set-up as soon as possible.

Shaw has apparently won the race, with Cole announcing his decision to retire from international football, rejecting the chance to be part of the seven-man back-up for the squad.

Hodgson, who is primed to name a youthful 23-man squad for the World Cup campaign, said that this was”one of the hardest decisions of my career”.

“He’s been an incredible competitor for England,” Hodgson told BBC Sport,

“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.”

With his England career now over, the left-back could also see his time at Chelsea over by next month, with his contract set to expire, and Cole indicated that he could be moving on to pastures new with a heartfelt tweet to Chelsea fans worldwide.

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Cole was seen weeping during the Chelsea lap of honour last week, and was handed the captain’s armband for the win over Cardiff on Sunday. The Chelsea players took time to shake the 33-year-old’s hand after the match, with all indicators pointing to a summer exit for the now-former England man.


What do you think? Is this the right decision from Hodgson? Should Chelsea hold on to him? Get involved in the comments below…