Ashley Cole not interested in being 'loved' ahead of 100th England cap
Left-back will start against Brazil tonight
As he prepares to become only the seventh man to win 100 caps for England, Ashley Cole said that he was not in international football to be "loved" but to represent his country and potentially still win a trophy with the national team.
Cole, who has barely granted an interview in the last seven years, did not speak to the media en masse. Instead, he spoke to a Press Association reporter operating on behalf of the English press as part of the agreement that the team sponsors Vauxhall have with the 1966 agency, which represents the players' interests.
Asked whether he felt he did not get the recognition and praise from the wider football public, Cole said: "Yeah, you are probably right. I don't want to sit here and keep going on about wanting to be loved. I am here to play football. That is all I want to do. I have been lucky to win trophies. That is my aim. Of course I want to do it in an England shirt.
"In football you can't always have it your own way. You can't always have the good times. You are going to have bad spells and periods when you are not playing well. It is something I have to deal with. I have learnt to deal with it."
If Cole goes to the 2014 World Cup and plays in the tournament, that will be a record four appearances in World Cup finals for an England player. Sir Bobby Charlton was named in four World Cup squads but did not play in the 1958 tournament. Rio Ferdinand was named in four World Cup squads but never played in 1998 or 2010. Sol Campbell has the record for playing at six tournaments (including three World Cups), which Cole will equal if he goes next summer.
Cole said: "I never think I want to go to another World Cup just to be in the record books again and play in six tournaments or four World Cups. If I am lucky enough to go, I want to go there to fight for my place and win something in an England shirt. Euro 2012 could have been my last tournament. It wasn't but the next World Cup could be my last so you want to do well. I don't look too far ahead, to be honest."
On the competition for his position from Leighton Baines, Cole said: "It is not just about me or Leighton. It is about the team. If he is playing well and plays in front of me, it is going to benefit the team. It is not as if I am going to start moaning or saying I should be playing. We are all great players. If there comes a time – and there will – when I am not first-choice left-back, it won't be a problem. I am here to help the team. It is not about me."
Cole highs: Five of the best from full-back
Cap 1: Albania 1-3 England, 2001 Handed his debut aged 20 by Sven Goran Eriksson in a World Cup qualifying win in March.
Cap 5: Germany 1-5 England, 2001 England's spectacular victory over Germany in Munich was only Cole's fifth appearance.
Cap 10: Argentina 0-1 England, 2002 The left-back was outstanding, despite playing behind the inexperienced Trevor Sinclair.
Cap 30: Portugal 2-2 England, 2004 Cole began to be talked about as the best left-back in the world, and gave nothing to Cristiano Ronaldo.
Cap 51: England 0-0 Portugal, 2006 Proving his performance two years earlier was no one-off, Cole repeated the trick at the World Cup.
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