December 20, 2014
Cole left out of England World Cup squad
Experienced left back Ashley Cole has been left out of a youth-focused England squad for next month's World Cup in Brazil and the Chelsea defender subsequently announced his international retirement.
Cole, 33, who won 107 caps, was told by Roy Hodgson he would not be included in his provisional 23-man squad or among the standby players that were named today, with the England manager saying it was one of the hardest decisions of his career.
"Got the call from Roy and agree England team should be about the young players," Cole tweeted on Sunday. "I think it best I retire from England team now.
"We have a great manager and team and I wish them only success. I will be supporting them like a true fan. Thanks to everyone for everything."
Hodgson has given himself the option to give England a youthful, fresh edge at the World Cup after including Ross Barkley, Raheem Sterling, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Luke Shaw and Adam Lallana in his provisional squad.
There were no real surprises as the irresistible late-season form of Everton's attacking midfielder Barkley and Liverpool wide man Sterling made their inclusion an easy choice for Hodgson despite having only five caps between them.
Oxlade-Chamberlain and Arsenal team mate Jack Wilshere got the nod despite ending the season with injuries, while Shaw was chosen as left-back back-up for Leighton Baines. Southampton provide three players in Shaw, midfielder Lallana and striker Rickie Lambert - who share only eight caps.
Lambert and Manchester United's goal-shy Danny Welbeck were included as back-ups for the probable first-choice strike partnership of Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge, with Andy Carroll named among the seven players on stand-by.
Everton centre back John Stones and Liverpool fullback Jon Flanagan, both uncapped, were also named as stand-bys, as was Jermain Defoe. Hodgson will have to name his final 23-man squad by June 2.
Hodgson, not known as a risk taker, can also draw on the immense experience of Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, James Milner and goalkeeper Joe Hart for a tough assignment in Brazil where England face Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica in Group D.
Joe Hart (Manchester City), Ben Foster (West Bromwich Albion), Fraser Forster (Celtic)
Leighton Baines (Everton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Luke Shaw (Southampton), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), Phil Jones (Manchester United)
Ross Barkley (Everton), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), Raheem Sterling (Liverpool), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Adam Lallana (Southampton), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), James Milner (Manchester City), Jack Wilshere(Arsenal)
Rickie Lambert (Southampton), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Danny Welbeck (Manchester United)
John Ruddy (Norwich City), Jon Flanagan (Liverpool), John Stones (Everton), Michael Carrick (Manchester United), Tom Cleverley (Manchester United), Andy Carroll (West Ham United), Jermain Defoe (Toronto FC).