The future of England left back Ashley Cole at international level has been thrown into doubt after manager Roy Hodgson said that the inclusion of the 33-year-old is very difficult right now considering that he has not featured enough at club level this campaign. Cole is one of the record appearance maker for England, while he holds the record for the most number of appearances made by a left back. However, he is coming to the end of their career, which saw him lifting numerous titles with Arsenal and Chelsea.

Since the last few months, he has not been featuring regularly for Chelsea. Jose Mourinho has largely used him as a substitute, while in his place, right back Cesar Azpilicueta has been playing. This has mystified many because Azpilicueta is not playing in his natural position, but he is still keeping his place in the team ahead of a specialist like Cole. The future of the former Arsenal man at Chelsea is also in doubt since he has only a few months left on his contract. He signed a one-year contract last summer, but the club are likely to review his place before offering him a new deal – the prospects of which are decreasing by the week.

As a result, the probability of seeing Cole at the World Cup is also diminishing.

“For years people have been understudy to Ashley. Now it’s Ashley’s turn to sit back. It’s a bit of a problem when you are a full-back – you either play or you are an understudy. We know what Ashley can do. We know how fit he keeps himself, how experienced he is. I certainly wouldn’t write Ashley Cole out of any plans because he wasn’t playing in his club team,” said Hodgson.

Leighton Baines and Luke Shaw are waiting in the wings to take Cole’s place in the team.