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Oct 16, 2012

Cole returns to England fold - report

Ashley Cole will return to the England side to win his 99th cap for his country against Poland, while Steven Gerrard is set to reach the same landmark as captain.

• Neville impressed by 'lean' Rooney
• Brewin: Poland v England preview
• Blog: Arsenal flavour to England
• Blog: Carroll gets The Toe Poke

Manager Roy Hodgson has opted to bring Cole back at left-back despite his recent four-letter outburst on Twitter that led to him accepting an FA misconduct charge.

Other changes include the addition of Jermain Defoe up front with Danny Welbeck dropped, while Tom Cleverley retains his place as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain takes his place on the bench.

Cole, though, is the headline news and ahead of the game Hodgson insisted that he would face a fight for his first-team place in the future.

"Ashley is still a fantastic player," he said. "We are lucky though, because Ashley was regarded as the only left-back in England for many years.

"Now we have Leighton Baines, who will always push him, and some interesting younger left-backs like Kieran Gibbs and Ryan Bertrand. It's been a problem position in many of the countries I've worked, but we are very well off, which is encouraging because, if anything, the importance of their role has increased."

With speculation that Cole is ready to sever ties with Chelsea at the end of the season following discussions over a contract extension, Gerrard has talked up his importance to England.

"It is important to speak about Ashley as a player," Gerrard added. "Privately he is quite quiet and reserved, but he comes alive on the pitch. It's been an absolute pleasure to play with him over the years. He's been one of the best left-backs this country has ever produced."

England team: Hart, Johnson, Jagielka, Lescott, Cole, Milner, Gerrard, Carrick, Cleverley, Rooney, Defoe.

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