Ashley Cole in line for 100th England appearance

Ashley Cole is in line to make his 100th England appearance on

Wednesday in a friendly against Brazil at Wembley Stadium.

The 32-year-old Chelsea defender was named by coach Roy Hodgson

on Thursday in a 24-man squad after missing the last match in

Sweden in November through injury.

”Reaching 100 matches is an incredible milestone,” Hodgson

said. ”He deserves an enormous pat on the back.”

But Cole is unlikely to mark his milestone match by captaining

England due to his long-standing reluctance to speak to the media

following some much-publicized incidents off the pitch.

From his short-lived marriage to pop star Cheryl Cole amid

front-page allegations of infidelity to accidentally shooting an

intern at Chelsea with an air rifle, the left back has rarely been

out of the headlines.

And for some fans, he’s never been able to shake off a perceived

greed when rejecting Arsenal’s contract offer before moving across

London to Chelsea in 2006.

”Reputations are forged in different ways I suppose. I judge

people on how I find them,” Hodgson said. ”He is a very serious

footballer and a very nice person to deal with on the footballing

front. He is a shy person.”

Cole made his England debut in 2001 against Albania and is

consistently one of the team’s top performers.

”He prefers his football to do the talking and is quite happy

for people to judge him on that basis,” Hodgson said.

”Unfortunately the profile players have these days means they will

be judged in other areas. That doesn’t affect me and hopefully it

won’t affect him on Wednesday. I am expecting people to give him

the credit he deserves.”

England will be seeking its first victory over Brazil since 1990

in Luiz Felipe Scolari’s first game in charge of the five-time

world champions.

Before Scolari replaced the fired Mano Menezes in November,

Brazil had won seven of its last eight matches.

”It is quite frightening how well they have done,” Hodgson

said. ”They will be out to impress their new management


With Hodgson trying to ensure England qualifies for the World

Cup, a strong squad has been selected to face the 2014 hosts.

But the only goalkeepers in the squad are Manchester City’s Joe

Hart and Birmingham’s Jack Butland after injuries restricted

Hodgson’s options.

Manchester United defender Chris Smalling is back for the first

time in a year, but Manchester City midfielder Gareth Barry remains

out of favor since being injured before last year’s European


Everton midfielder Leon Osman has retained his place after

impressing in Stockholm where England lost 4-2 following a late



Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Birmingham), Joe Hart (Manchester


Defenders: Leighton Baines (Everton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea),

Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Glen Johnson

(Liverpool), Joleon Lescott (Manchester City), Chris Smalling

(Manchester United), Kyle Walker (Tottenham).

Midfielders: Michael Carrick (Manchester United), Tom Cleverley

(Manchester United), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Frank Lampard

(Chelsea), Aaron Lennon (Tottenham), James Milner (Manchester

City), Leon Osman (Everton), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal),

Jack Wilshere (Arsenal).

Forwards: Jermain Defoe (Tottenham), Wayne Rooney (Manchester

United), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Theo Walcott (Arsenal),

Danny Welbeck (Manchester United).