LONDON (Sporting Alert) — Full-back Ashley Cole will be handed his 100th cap when he starts for England in Wednesday’s friendly international against Brazil, national coach Roy Hodgson confirmed.
With Everton star Leighton Baines in outstanding form this season, it was believed that Hodgson may have been tempted to start the left-back ahead of Cole on Wednesday night.
However, the head coach confirmed that the Chelsea ace will become only the seventh player to make 100 England appearances – joining Peter Shilton (125), David Beckham (115), Bobby Moore (108), Bobby Charlton (106), Billy Wright (105) and Steven Gerrard (100), who will skipper the team against Brazil.
“Yes [Cole] will start the game, then I’ll have to see what to do with Leighton, who has been doing very well.
“But Ashley will definitely start.”
Asked if Cole would lead the England team out, Hodgson told reporters, “I don’t see any reason why the captain should let anyone else lead the team out.
“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 on Wednesday.”
Meanwhile, Hodgson is yet to decide on whether or not Theo Walcott will start as a striker in his formation, although sources say the England boss will go with Manchester United duo, Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck.
Brazil, in the meantime, will also field a challenging team, but it is still unsure if head coach Luis Felipe Scolari will start former Barcelona star Ronaldinho in his first XI.
Bayern Munich defender Dante has earned his first call up to the international team and could make his debut, while QPR goalkeeper Julio Cesar, the on form man at the moment, is set to start in goal.
Neymar, Oscar, Ramires and Dani Alves are all in line to start as well.
England are coming off a 4-2 defeat against Sweden, while Brazil were defeated 2-1 by Argentina in their last outing.
POSSIBLE STARTING TEAMS
BRAZIL: Cesar, Alves, Miranda, Dante, Adriano, Ramires, Oscar, Paulinho, Lucas Moura, Ronaldinho, Neymar
ENGLAND: Hart, Johnson, Cahill, Jagielka, Cole, Wilshere, Gerrard, Walcott, Cleverley, Welbeck, Rooney