Glen Johnson believes fellow England full-back Ashley Cole does not always get the credit he deserves ahead of winning his 100th cap in Wednesday's friendly with Brazil at Wembley.
Cole will become the seventh England player to reach three figures, following in the footsteps of skipper Steven Gerrard who achieved the milestone against Sweden in November.
The 31-year-old made his international debut 11 years ago in the 3-1 win against Albania in Tirana, but has not always been held in the highest esteem by some England supporters.
But Johnson insists the Chelsea player is of the highest quality as a player and as a human being.
He said: "The 100 caps is fantastic for Ashley and, for me, no-one deserves it more. As a player, he's been a proper pro for many years in the Premier League and done some great things in the game.
"It was great to see Stevie do it not so long ago and Ash has been in the set-up for many years and thoroughly deserves it.
"He has been a key member of any team he has been involved with for season after season.
"Does he get the credit he deserves? Not at times, no. He's been in the set-up for such a long time, he's been a key player and consistent for many years.
"I certainly don't feel he deserves some of the stick he sometimes gets.
"He is very important for England. He started his 99 caps. If that doesn't tell a story, I don't know what does."
Cole has been reluctant to talk to the media in recent years but Johnson insisted: "Ash is quite a quiet lad. He keeps himself to himself.
"He hasn't spoken about getting to 100 caps directly but I'm sure inside he is buzzing and can't wait to get to that landmark.
"Off the pitch, he is one of the nicest guys you are going to meet. He is down to earth, up for a laugh and one of the lads, a top bloke.
"It will be a wonderful night for him and I'm sure he will have all his friends and family there to soak it up with him as well."
Johnson is relishing the prospect of facing Brazil's hot property Neymar, who will be making his second Wembley appearance after playing in the Olympic final against Mexico last year.
He said: "I've seen clips on YouTube and saw he is very talented and many people speak highly of him. I'm sure he will be a fantastic player. I've heard a lot about him,
"But Brazil can pick so many good players. They can probably pick two starting XIs that can be just as dangerous."
Johnson believes he has been in the most consistent form of his career with England during the past 12 months.
He also admits the squad already have half an eye on next month's World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro.
He said: "I would say 2012 was my most satisfying in an England shirt. I've been working really hard for many years to try and be consistent.
"I'm happy the way things have been going of late. I played the last game and want to do enough to play in the next one.
"Of course, the two games in March are much more important. Of course, we want a performance and result in this game. But, if you could choose, you'd rather take six points in March, that's for sure.
"Hopefully this game will tide us over and make us ready for March for two games you've got to look at getting six points from."
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