Ashley Cole has been one of the finest left backs of his generation. His ability to read the game well, defend at the back and make supportive attacking runs for the team made him one of the best wingbacks the game has seen. Apart from his abilities, his consistency has also been exemplary. For more than 10 years now, Ashley Cole has sustained his performances – grinding out the very best performances on the pitch year in year out. However, this season has been strange and different for the England international.
Cesar Azpilicueta –a traditional right back – has kept Cole out of the team so far. Azpilicueta has truly been revelation on the left side of the back four. The idea initially was for him to hold the fort till Cole was back from injury. Slowly and surely the Spaniard made the position his. He made everybody forget about Cole. In fact, his lovely performances convinced people that Ashley Cole is no longer Ashley Cole.
The Ashley Cole situation has England manager, Roy Hodgson worried – rightly so. If Ashley Cole is not getting games, it means Hodgson will have to look elsewhere when it’s time to go to Brazil in the summer. Hodgson recently made his thoughts known about Ashley Cole. The England manager stated that it will be hard for Cole to get back into the team.
“For years people have been understudy to Ashley, now its Ashley’s turn to sit back. It’s a bit of a problem when you are a fullback – you either play or you are an understudy.” The England manager said.
There’s still a slim chance for him. “We know what Ashley can do. We know how fit he keeps himself, how experienced he is. I certainly wouldn’t write Ashley out of my plans because he wasn’t playing in his club team.
“But he will have to accept like everyone else that competition for his place in the club team and international team gets stronger all the time, and I will have a decision to make.”
With the current scenario should Ashley Cole be offered a new deal by Chelsea in the summer?
The answer to that question is a resounding ‘yes’. Yes he has lost his spot in the Chelsea team to Azpilicueta and might not even go to Brazil, but Ashley Cole still has the experience and ability to make a decent backup. From his game it can be seen that he’s is not getting any younger. His level of performances has reduced. He still has a lot to offer for at least another year.
A lot of top teams will be happy to have Ashley Cole on their books right now. Even if he doesn’t play much, his experience and guidance is vital for the growth of the youth and the experience especially will be needed in big games. Money won’t buy that. It remains to be seen if the Chelsea chiefs will offer him a new contract at the end of the season, or if he will choose to start another adventure someplace else. Whatever happens, wherever Ashley Cole ends up next season, he’s not done.