England defender Ashley Cole will play in Chelsea's FA Cup quarter-final at Coventry on Saturday despite his arrest for drunk and disorderly conduct outside a London restaurant earlier this week.
Cole was led away from South Kensington's Collection restaurant in handcuffs early on Thursday morning after abusing police officers following a night out with Chelsea team-mates John Terry and Michael Mancienne.
The left-back, who is married to Girls Aloud singer Cheryl Cole, claimed he was being harrassed by photographers, who had reportedly taken pictures of him talking to a woman in the venue, and he was unhappy that police at the scene failed to help him.
Cole, who issued an apology for his behaviour, was given an £80 fixed penalty by police. The former Arsenal star didn't escape the wrath of Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink, however, who gave Cole a stern talking to at the club's Cobham training ground on Friday. Hiddink also spoke to Terry and Mancienne to warn them about the responsibility to the club and their team-mates.
The Dutch coach hinted that Cole would be disciplined for breaking Chelsea's code of conduct but Hiddink, who has lost full-back Paulo Ferreira to a cruciate ligament injury for the rest of the season, admitted he would not be left out of the squad for this weekend's cup tie.
"Ashley Cole will be in the squad on Saturday. To be fair and open I've talked with him about the situation.," said Hiddink. "We talked in private and he explained the details to me," Hiddink said a press conference on Friday.
"I've spoken firmly with him about his responsibility. There are rules inside this club regarding going out and also discipline. I had a firm talk with him and also the rest of the group about this. What is normal and good is he apologised for his abusive behaviour against the police officer. He over-reacted abusively. He went a little bit too far. At that moment they were outside the rules set by the club. I've spoken firmly with him, the captain and the vice-captain."
"Every case is different. You have to judge the circumstance. In his opinion he was harrassed a little bit and that is why he reacted. He went out of control and that is where we tackled him," Hiddink said. "I've had things going on with big players 10 or 12 years ago. Everyone knows that was a situation with the Dutch national team.
"It was counter-productive to the relationships within the teams. When it is harming the relationship for productivity in the team that is when I will say enough."
With Cole's scandal high on the agenda, Hiddink hardly fielded a single question about football during his pre-match briefing, but he did reveal that Ghana midfielder Michael Essien and Portugal defender Ricardo Carvalho will feature at Coventry. Essien has been sidelined with a knee injury since September, while Carvalho has also been struggling with a knee problem.