Roy Hodgson: 'Ashley Cole faces competition'

Roy Hodgson
© PA Photos
England manager Roy Hodgson insists that Ashley Cole faces competition to hold onto his starting place in the England team.

England manager Roy Hodgson has revealed that he believes that it is "encouraging" that England have several options at left-back.

Ashley Cole has been England's first choice at left-back for the past 10 years, but Hodgson has insisted that the Chelsea player is no longer guaranteed to start for his country after the emergence of Leighton Baines, Ryan Bertrand and Kieran Gibbs.

Hodgson said: "Ashley is a fantastic player. We are lucky because Ashley was regarded as the only left-back in England for many years.

"But now we have Leighton Baines, who will always push him, and some interesting younger left-backs like Kieran Gibbs and Ryan Bertrand.

"It's been a problem position in many of the countries I've worked, but we are very well off, which is encouraging because, if anything, the importance of their role has increased."

Cole is likely to start at left-back when England take on Poland on Tuesday evening.

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