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Hodgson casts doubt on Cole future

England manager Roy Hodgson has admitted he has "a decision to make" over Ashley Cole's future involvement with the national team.

Captain for the day Ashley Cole gets a warm reception when receiving a gold 100th England cap from Roy Hodgson
Cole earned his 100th cap for England against Brazil in February 2013.

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Cole, 33, has won 106 caps for England since making his debut in 2001, and has been a mainstay at left-back for his country at five major tournaments since then.

However, the former Arsenal defender has lost his place in the Chelsea team this season, starting fewer than half of their Premier League games since manager Jose Mourinho returned to the club last summer.

With Everton left-back Leighton Baines the immediate rival for Cole, Arsenal's Kieran Gibbs receiving regular call-ups and Southampton youngster Luke Shaw eyed as a future candidate for England in that position, Hodgson said Cole's international future is far from certain.

"For years people have been understudy to Ashley," Hodgson said. "Now it's Ashley's turn to sit back.

"We know what Ashley can do. We know how fit he keeps himself, how experienced he is. I certainly wouldn't write Ashley Cole out of any plans because he isn't playing in his club team. But he will have to accept, like everyone else, that the competition for his place in the club team and international team gets stronger all the time, and I will have a decision to make.

"It's a bit of a problem when you are a full-back. If you are a midfield player, there might be three or four positions you can play. Full-backs are like goalkeepers -- either you play or you have to be understudy."

Hodgson had earlier confirmed that he would not be considering Cole's Chelsea teammate John Terry for an international return, saying: "As far as I am concerned retirement is retirement."

Like Terry and fellow colleague for club and country Frank Lampard, Cole's current Chelsea contract expires at the end of the season.

Hodgson will name his 23-man provisional squad for this summer's World Cup finals in Brazil on May 13.

The FA has confirmed, meanwhile, that England will take part in a five-day warm weather training camp in Portugal at the end of the season. Hodgson will take his squad to the country in the week between the FA Cup final and the Champions League final, from May 19 to 23. It is also understood that Hodgson will next week visit Miami, where England play two warm-up games in June.

Hodgson will inspect the training facilities that England will use in the United States during their stay there and he will also visit the Brazilian city of Manaus, where England play their opening World Cup game against Italy on June 14.


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