England: Ashley Cole to start against Brazil for 100th cap

International friendly: England v Brazil

  • Venue: Wembley
  • Date: Wednesday, 6 February
  • Kick-off: 19:30 GMT

Coverage: Live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and audio commentary on BBC Radio 5 live.

England defender Ashley Cole has talked about his pride as he prepares to earn his 100th cap for England when they take on Brazil at Wembley on Wednesday.

Cole, 32, also explained how a brief chat with former Arsenal player David Rocastle, who died from cancer in 2001, inspired him to be a player as a child.

"I am proud, privileged and overwhelmed by how many times I have done it," said Chelsea full-back Cole.

"After he spoke to me for those five minutes, it was all I wanted to be."

Cole began his career at Arsenal before moving to Chelsea in 2006.

Analysis

"England's fans have the opportunity to reflect on the consistency and quality Cole has delivered for them when he reaches his landmark at Wembley. And he may even get the credit his football achievements thoroughly deserve."

"I supported Arsenal at the time and he was someone I wanted to be like," said Cole about his chat with ex-Gunners midfielder Rocastle.

"Now I look back and think what a great career I have had but I will never forget speaking to him."

Cole made his national team debut in March 2001 against Albania and will become the seventh England player to reach a century of appearances when he lines up against Brazil.

"Ashley will definitely start the game," said England manager Roy Hodgson.

"I'll have to see what to do with [fellow left-back] Leighton [Baines], who has been doing very well."

There were suggestions Cole may lead the team out against Brazil instead of regular captain Gerrard but Hodgson ruled out such a prospect.

Gerrard won his 100th cap in a friendly against Sweden last November and he and Cole will both get their caps at Wembley.

"I don't see any reason why the captain should let anyone else lead the team out," explained Hodgson.

I'll be standing and cheering when his name gets announced

England Under-21 boss Stuart Pearce

"Ashley does his talking and work on the field and I don't think he's ever pushed himself forward during his 100 appearances as a potential captain of the team.

"I think he's just very happy to be a key player in the team so I'm pretty certain he won't be trying to rip the armband off Steven. If he does I might have to step in."

England Under-21 manager Stuart Pearce said: "In my mind, he's the best left-back that's ever played for England. "That's a fact, in my eyes.

"To play 100 times for his country is an amazing achievement.

"It shows not just a consistency of ability, it shows a dedication to want to turn up week in, week out, month in, month out for your country."

Pearce, a left-back who won 78 caps and was part of the England team that came close to reaching the final of both the 1990 World Cup and Euro '96, also believes the Chelsea defender isn't shown the appropriate appreciation for his high level of performance.

"I don't think Ashley gets enough credit for being as professional as he actually is around the place," he said.

"People outside the squad don't realise how professional he is."

There are fears that Cole, who has been the subject of negative headlines for off-field incidents in recent years, may not receive the warm reception that could normally be expected from a Wembley crowd on the occasion of winning 100 caps.

England's 100-cap club

  • Peter Shilton (125)
  • David Beckham (115)
  • Bobby Moore (108)
  • Bobby Charlton (106)
  • Billy Wright (105)
  • Steven Gerrard (100)

But the England Under-21 manager insists he will lead the way in showing due respect for Cole's landmark achievement.

"I'm going to the game on Wednesday and I hope he's playing," stated Pearce. "I'll be standing and cheering when his name gets announced."

England captain Steven Gerrard is also an admirer of Cole's performances for his country.

Speaking at St George's Park, England's national football centre, he said: "Ashley's been consistent in the England team for many, many years.

"He certainly deserves to get in the 100-cap category."

The Liverpool captain, who was voted by fans as England's player of the year for 2012 earlier this week, believes it is fitting that Cole will mark his 100th cap against the five-times world champions.

"It's fantastic for him to get it against Brazil. He's been a team-mate of mine for a long time so I'm very pleased for him."