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May 29, 2013

Hodgson bemused by Cole uproar

England boss Roy Hodgson has defended stand-in captain Ashley Cole's absence from a pre-game press conference as the Three Lions prepare to face Ireland.

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Cole has been named skipper for Wednesday's clash in what will be his 100th appearance for the national team.

The decision to give Cole the armband was met with some criticism, and confusion, following his abusive tweet aimed at the FA last October. This feeling was fuelled when the Chelsea defender did not front the media on Tuesday.

Hodgson, though, failed to see the fuss over the issue.

"Why are you so anxious to see Ashley?" he said. "It amazes me that such an event can cause such consternation, first of all.

"The symbolism here is that a player, who's been a fantastic player for two football clubs and England... normally speaking, the player who gets the 100th cap captains the team.

"He won't be the first player across the world to get his 100th cap who isn't the captain normally. You're making a bigger thing than we are. We would like him to be captain on his 100th game."

So, Cole will lead England out, toss the coin and wear the armband for as long as he happens to be on the pitch.

"I suppose it is odd in some ways in the sense that Ashley is not the person who likes to stand in front of a large group of journalists and take on the responsibility of having to speak for the team," said Hodgson.

"As as a result, he has never actually been considered for (the) captaincy despite the fact that he has played over 100 games."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.

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