The 29-year-old is “one of the best left-backs in the world” according to his club coach Carlo Ancelotti and few good judges would disagree. Within ten months of his Premier League debut for Arsenal, his first club, Ashley Cole had been fast-tracked into the England team for his debut against Albania in March 2001.
He has been his country’s first-choice left-back ever since. An ever-present at the 2002 FIFA World Cup™ in Korea/Japan, he repeated the feat at UEFA EURO 2004 and Germany 2006. Having missed just 15 of the combined 1,320 minutes played by England in those three tournaments, he has seen more finals action than any other player in Fabio Capello’s squad.
The protype of the modern full-back, he is blessed with the pace, athleticism and deep energy reserves to contribute fully at both ends of the pitch, so combining defensive expertise with an attacking threat down the left side.
He won two league titles and three FA Cups with Arsenal as well as reaching the 2006 UEFA Champions League final in his last game for the Gunners before swapping north for west London by joining Chelsea. He has won another two FA Cups with Chelsea, equalling the record for winner’s medals, although he suffered a second dose of heartache in the UEFA Champions League final defeat by Manchester United in 2008. He featured eight times for England on the road to South Africa and reached the 75-cap mark in last September’s friendly victory over Slovenia.