The 66-year-old highlights the increased competition at left back within his squad and suggests the Chelsea star won't be first choice at the World Cup.
Cole faces competition for an England place with Everton’s Leighton Baines as well as Southampton’s Luke Shaw, the latter of whom Hodgson hinted could be included in his squad to face Denmark on March 5.
"For years people have been understudy to Ashley. Now it's Ashley's turn to sit back," the England manager told reporters. "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 isn't playing in his club team.
"But he will have to accept, like everyone else, that the competition for his place in the club team and international team gets stronger all the time, and I will have a decision to make. It's a bit of a problem when you are a full back. If you are a midfield player, there might be three or four positions you can play. Full backs are like goalkeepers - either you play or you have to be understudy."