Hodgson praises 'excellent professional' Ashley Cole as defender nears 100th England cap

The national boss has kind words for the Chelsea left-back despite the player's controversial Tweet about the FA following John Terry's ban for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand
Roy Hodgson has praised Ashley Cole as an "excellent professional" and is not ruling out the prospect of handing him the England captaincy despite the defender's controversial Tweet about the Football Association.

The Chelsea left-back is set to face disciplinary action from both his club and the FA after posting an offensive message online concerning the governing body's investigation of the "evolution" of his evidence in the case of John Terry having racially abused Anton Ferdinand.

Though there is debate over whether it would be appropriate to make the defender captain in his 100th game, Hodgson feels that he is lucky to have the Blues man in his squad.

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"I have found [Cole] to be an excellent professional and a very, very enthusiastic and important member of the group and I'm looking forward to working with him for a period of time to come," he told reporters.

"He has done it with consistency and there is no reason why he cannot set his sights higher. I must say [100 caps] is an achievement we shouldn't be underestimating and if people are going to praise his achievement it is something I would endorse."

The 31-year-old later deleted the Tweet in question but is now likely to face a fine and a possible ban. However, Hodgson was cagey as to whether Cole could captain England against San Marino on Friday.

"It is something that would need an awful lot of consideration and you would need to discuss it with Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard, who have been captaining the team," he noted. "It is not something you should take lightly. It is certainly worthy of consideration.

"What is more worthy of consideration is the fact that Ashley, at a relatively young age and with more football left in him, is likely to get his 100th cap very soon – and that is fantastic. I don't think we should ever underestimate the value of that."

Despite Cole's outburst, Hodgson also praised him for refusing to bow to the press and give interviews, adding: "Every player has the right to be true to their own feelings, and [Cole's] is that he will do his talking on the field.

"He doesn't want to give lots of interviews, he wants to be judged as a pure footballer."