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Ferdinand and Terry remain as boss' preferred option when fit

England manager Fabio Capello has showered praise on Ashley Cole, insisting that the Chelsea defender is "one of the best left-backs in the world".

The Italian was speaking ahead of the Euro 2012 qualifier against Montenegro, which should see the 29-year-old equal Kenny Sansom's record of being the most capped left-back for the Three Lions.

Indeed, Sansom himself previously tipped the former Arsenal man to go on a break Peter Shilton's record of having been capped 125 times for the nation.

For now, however, Cole will make his 86th appearance for England during the clash with Montenegro at Wembley.

"Ashley Cole is one of the best left-backs in the world,"Capello told reporters. "The number of caps he has won is not a surprise to me.

"Ashley is good in so many ways. He's good when he has to defend. He's really good going forward.

"He's intelligent and good with his movement. When he has the ball, no problems. He can move.

"He's good when he has to defend but also good when he gets to the box. He understands how to play a pass.

"Other players don't know what to do when they get in that position.

"But Ashley is always dangerous with his passes. He is an important player."

The former Real Madrid and Juventus boss will once again have to field a make-shift defence, as John Terry is out owing to injury. And with Phil Jagielka also sidelined, the responsibility falls on Joleon Lescott to partner Rio Ferdinand in the heart of defence.

However, Capello maintained that despite strong performances from other players, Ferdinand and Terry remain as his preferred players in the heart of defence.

"I hope they will be fit, because they have had some back problems.

"I hope they will be fit for the next games. If these two players are fit, they will play together in the future for England.

"Lescott has played a lot of games at left-back but he did very well against Switzerland [at centre-back]. I am sure he will be fine."

The Three Lions were recently handed yet another blow in the attacking department, as Darren Bent suffered a groin injury in training. He is the latest casualty as Capello already has to make to without Jermain Defoe and Bobby Zamora.

In the meantime, the Sunderland striker had hoped to make a start against Zlatko Kranjcar's charges on Tuesday, but his unavailability means that England will have to adapt their style of play to suit Peter Crouch.

"The style is completely different between Crouch and Bent or Defoe," Capello said. "The other two players, not Crouch, are about movement going forward.

"Crouch prefers to receive the ball and doesn't have a lot of pace.

"But we can play different styles. The movement of the other players will be very important."

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