England World Cup squad: 'Like me or not, it hurts to stop playing for my country', says Ashley Cole as he retires

Cole announced on Twitter that he had received the dreaded phone call from England manager Roy Hodgson to inform him he will not go to the World Cup

It was with uncharacteristic grace and humility that Ashley Cole decided to bring an end to his international career after learning he would not be selected in England's World Cup squad.

As far as exits go, it was all pretty tame and contained little trace of the controversy that has dogged his career.

Read more: Hodgson admits 'we can win World Cup'
Hodgson attempts to ease pressure on Barkley

Four messages on Twitter confirmed what several media outlets had already reported - that arguably the best left-back of his generation would not be included in Roy Hodgson's 23-man squad for the plane to Brazil, with Leighton Baines and teenager Luke Shaw set to be selected in his stead.

"I got the call from Roy and agree England team should be about the young players. I think it best I retire from England team now," he wrote.

"We have a great manager and team and I wish them only success. I will be supporting them like a true fan. Thanks to everyone for everything.

"#Baines and #shaw are great players, proved this season, and are the future of this country, it was a pleasure to get #107 caps #eng."

It is his final tweet that will resonate most with fans up and down the country, though, as he said: "Like me or not, trust me it's hurt me to stop playing for my country #proud and #honoured."

Read more: Cole retires from international football
Walker's hopes of Brazil inclusion over
Sam Wallace: Hodgson isn't exactly spoiled for choice

After all this is a man who used the same Twitter account in October 2012 to attack the Football Association in a foul-mouthed rant, while there have been numerous other misdemeanours, including accidentally shooting a work experience student at Chelsea's training ground in February 2011.

He has also hardly endeared himself to the general public at large too, with many still mindful of his declaration in his autobiography that he was left "trembling with anger" when his then club Arsenal offered him wages of £55,000 per week, which earned him the nickname "Cashley".

For all his foibles, though, it is hard to escape the assumption that England will miss his presence in Brazil this summer and he deserves to be lauded in the coming days for his contribution to his country, even though he won no international honours.

True, he has struggled to break into Chelsea's first team this year, yet he has rarely, if ever, disappointed in a Three Lions shirt.

Not many full-backs can claim they kept Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo quiet. Cole did that, not once but twice in Euro 2004 and then again two years later at the World Cup.

The 33-year-old is also a member of the prestigious 100-cap club and retires as the fifth most capped player of his country of all-time, with a record 22 of his 107 international appearances coming in tournaments, not missing a minute in the process.

Read more: Stones could still replace Jones if he fails to recover
Carrick tweets about World Cup heartbreak

Inevitably with age, however, his aura has dimmed, and Hodgson has opted for youth over a wealth of experience, with Cole admirably admitting defeat on Sunday night.

A dignified international retirement will not be enough to forget his multitude of sins over the years, but at least the talk will be centred on his football ability in the next week - and that is perhaps the way it should be.

PA

Suggested Topics
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
News
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
people
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders