England defender Ashley Cole is a national treasure who would easily grace a World XI
Ignore the men in white coats hammering at the front door, let’s dare to dream for a mad moment. Let’s just imagine England somehow scraped through to the final of Euro 2012. Bear with me.
Not only would it represent an extraordinary achievement to rival the Moon landings but it would mark a special occasion for one individual, bringing up Ashley Cole’s century.
Cole’s salute to supporters, the footballing equivalent of the ton-up cricketer’s raised bat to the pavilion, may also be followed by a raised finger to the press box. Sadly, the long cold war between Cole and those who chronicle his career shows little sign of thawing.
Requests for a quiet word usually elicit a ribald response. No matter. Let’s celebrate this remarkable footballer.
For Cole is the one member of Roy Hodgson’s 23 who would effortlessly grace a World XI, whose blend of determination, athleticism, stamina and tactical savviness has him walking with giants of the England game.