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News & Comment

Outside the Box: England can make history by naming three Coles in same team

West Ham striker Carlton Cole, who is expected to be named in the England squad this evening, needs to keep his place in the squad until Joe Cole is fit to join him and Ashley in the team, allowing England to bewilder opponents by fielding three players with the same name down the left flank: "Watch Cole!" "I can't, I'm marking Cole!" Sven Goran Eriksson came close to this cunning ploy by naming Ashley, Joe and Manchester United's "Andrew" Cole in the same squad but never the same team; and although nine Browns and no fewer than 19 Smiths have an England cap, no three of them are ever believed to have played together in the same game.

Hansen thrown to Wolves

Only three weeks into the season, those Match of the Day pundits are already offering their usual premature reassurances about which teams will be safe from relegation. And we're not talking Liverpool. The venerable Alan Hansen opines of newly promoted Wolves, fourth favourites with most bookmakers to go down: "I think they'll be alright." As long as they don't play too many kids presumably.

It's a funny old game

No one likes them, they don't care, and so they may even have chuckled at the black humour of Sam Allardyce's response when told that there had been a stabbing at the Carling Cup tie at Upton Park on Tuesday. "That nearly happened to me at Millwall," he said. "And I was playing for them." A further contender for inclusion in the increasing number of copycat football quotes books came two days later from the former Tottenham manager Gerry Francis. Totting up how much the current incumbent Harry Redknapp had been allowed to spend at White Hart Lane, he sighed: "When I was there, I had to lend them money."

Win new records book

The tireless Keir Radnedge, who has been writing about world football for more than 40 years, has compiled Fifa's first officially licensed records book, 'World Football Records 2010', published this week by Carlton, and this column has five copies to give away. Send the answers to these three questions to Sports Desk, Independent on Sunday, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5HF or e-mail m.padgett@independent.co.uk 1) Who is Holland's most capped player? 2) Which country has won five of the last seven World Under-20 Tournaments? 3)Which Asian country has appeared at most World Cup final tournaments? Answers in this space next Sunday.