Ashley Cole named England player of the year

Ashley Cole has emerged as a surprise choice as England's 2010 player of the year.

Along with Steven Gerrard, Cole was one of only two senior players to return from the World Cup in South Africa with their reputations intact.

He has carried that form into the Euro 2012 qualifying campaign, bolstering his reputation as one of the world's best left-backs. However, Cole has never been a fans' favourite.

The Chelsea defender has been among those jeered in the past by the Wembley faithful, while matters in his private life have also affected the 30-year-old's public image.

However, this did not stop Cole finishing top of the eighth online poll at

Cole, who missed just three of England's 12 games last term, finished ahead of Gerrard and Manchester City's Adam Johnson.

He becomes the first defender to win an award that was won twice by Frank Lampard in 2004 and 2005 and was held by Wayne Rooney.