Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Praise the Career, Ignore the Character

Peter Shilton, David Beckham, Bobby Moore, Sir Bobby Charlton, Billy Wright, Steven Gerrard.  And tonight against Brazil; Ashley Cole will join that sacred club of players who have been capped 100 times for England.

I genuinely believe that Cole deserves to take his place in history and write his name in the record books.
As a Gooner, I may have had my issues with the Chelsea player in the past; but as a football fan it is virtually impossible to see why his ability isn't celebrated in the same way as past and current teammates such as Beckham and Gerrard.

For me, he has been the most consistent England international of the last decade and I would imagine the first name on most England boss' teamsheets.

As well as the 99 caps he's collected in an England shirt, he has made 359 league appearances for Arsenal, Chelsea and Crystal Palace; where he spent time on loan.

Since his senior début in 1998; Cole has won three Premier League titles, SEVEN FA Cups, one League Cup, three Community Shields and ol' big ears himself; the Champions League. Not many Englishmen can boast a bigger haul than that.

Admittedly, the defender has made mistakes in his life. But which one of us can say we haven't?
The point is his personal errors should not detract from what has been and continues to be an amazing career, in an age where many young players fall off the radar after a handful of games. The skill and commitment it takes to play a century of games for your country is rare and something to be heavily championed.

As part of the so-called Golden Generation that has failed time and again, the Londoner has never once been accused of not giving his all or being a shirker when the game is going against England.

So tonight when his name is called out, I hope the Wembley crowd cheer the man for what he has achieved in his career and the standard he has maintained over the last 14 years. Rather than the mistakes he has made to make him end up as this weeks tabloid fodder.

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