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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

Tribal gathering

Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
10 best trays

Get carried away with 10 best trays

Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created