Ashley Cole won his 100th England cap in a friendly against Brazil this month but the outstanding form of Everton left-back Leighton Baines for the past number of seasons could see him displace the 32-year-old from the national side.
Cole was replaced by Baines at half-time in the friendly at Wembley, and at 28 he is four years younger than the Chelsea full-back.
The experienced defender has won pretty much everything there is to win in domestic football and has merited his 100 caps for England, which makes it almost impossible to separate the two left-footers.
Everton’s Baines has been voted their Player of the Season in the past two seasons. The dead-ball specialist has scored nine goals in the past two Premier League seasons, and in his 25 appearances so far this season he has already scored five goals and will be the favourite to win the Player of the Season at Goodison Park once again.
Earlier in the season, it was revealed that Baines attempts three times as many crosses than Cole, producing more assists than the Chelsea defender.
In comparison, Cole has only scored once in the past three Premier League seasons. Many would argue that it isn’t the job of a left-back to be scoring goals, but it can only be a good thing.
Influential striker Wayne Rooney acknowledges the level of performance from Cole, saying: “Over the last 10 or 15 years he has been a great servant for England. He is not one to speak a lot but he gets his head down and works hard.
“He rarely misses a game for England. I’m sure he’s delighted and we’re all really pleased for him.”
Baines has started to feature more frequently for England, and has now made 14 appearances for the national side since debuting in 2010.
To a certain extent he must feel extremely unfortunate to be at the top of his game at a time where Ashley Cole is such a highly regarded member of the England squad.
With Cole’s career coming to its twilight years Baines will need to maintain his level of performance to ensure he continues to challenge for the number 3 shirt and Roy Hodgson has a more than adequate replacement when he gets the chance.
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