Ashley Cole's squad place not assured
Ashley Cole's place in England's World Cup squad is by no means certain, according to manager Roy Hodgson.
Cole is set to win his 106th cap in either Friday's friendly against Chile at Wembley or against Germany at the same venue four days later, but the emergence of several rivals for his left-back role mean his place on the plane to Brazil is not yet confirmed.
Everton's Leighton Baines, Arsenal's Kieran Gibbs and U21 international Luke Shaw will also be in contention for next summer and Cole -- who has not played in Chelsea's last two games -- is not getting any guarantees from his international boss.
"From an England perspective, I'm still very happy to consider Ashley Cole as a potential English left-back," Hodgson told reporters ahead of the Chile match.
"But as you know the competition for that spot is particularly fierce.
"Baines is also playing well and on top of that we have Gibbs and Shaw -- two younger players but who I think can definitely put these more senior ones under some pressure.
"I would definitely not be concerned, if there were no Ashley Cole or Leighton Baines, about Gibbs or Shaw playing."
Shaw has two Southampton teammates -- forward Jay Rodriguez and midfielder Adam Lallana -- set to make their England debuts following their first senior call-ups, but Hodgson warned that the strong competition for places means second chances to impress are rare.
"It's going to be a big night for them if they get their chance and unfortunately if they do fail spectacularly and do really badly, it will be held against them," he said.
"I would like to think that, if a guy gets a chance, he'll be good enough to take it and confirm that he deserves his place in the squad in the first place."