Ashley Cole in line for 100th England appearance
LONDON (AP) -- Ashley Cole is in line to make his 100th England appearance on Wednesday in a friendly against Brazil at Wembley Stadium.
The 32-year-old Chelsea defender was named by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday in a 24-man squad after missing the last match in Sweden in November through injury.
"Reaching 100 matches is an incredible milestone,'' Hodgson said. "He deserves an enormous pat on the back.''
But Cole is unlikely to mark his milestone match by captaining England due to his long-standing reluctance to speak to the media following some much-publicized incidents off the pitch.
From his short-lived marriage to pop star Cheryl Cole amid front-page allegations of infidelity to accidentally shooting an intern at Chelsea with an air rifle, the left back has rarely been out of the headlines.
And for some fans, he's never been able to shake off a perceived greed when rejecting Arsenal's contract offer before moving across London to Chelsea in 2006.
"Reputations are forged in different ways I suppose. I judge people on how I find them,'' Hodgson said. "He is a very serious footballer and a very nice person to deal with on the footballing front. He is a shy person.''
Cole made his England debut in 2001 against Albania and is consistently one of the team's top performers.
"He prefers his football to do the talking and is quite happy for people to judge him on that basis,'' Hodgson said. "Unfortunately the profile players have these days means they will be judged in other areas. That doesn't affect me and hopefully it won't affect him on Wednesday. I am expecting people to give him the credit he deserves.''
England will be seeking its first victory over Brazil since 1990 in Luiz Felipe Scolari's first game in charge of the five-time world champions.
Before Scolari replaced the fired Mano Menezes in November, Brazil had won seven of its last eight matches.
"It is quite frightening how well they have done,'' Hodgson said. "They will be out to impress their new management team.''
With Hodgson trying to ensure England qualifies for the World Cup, a strong squad has been selected to face the 2014 hosts.
But the only goalkeepers in the squad are Manchester City's Joe Hart and Birmingham's Jack Butland after injuries restricted Hodgson's options.
Manchester United defender Chris Smalling is back for the first time in a year, but Manchester City midfielder Gareth Barry remains out of favor since being injured before last year's European Championship.
Everton midfielder Leon Osman has retained his place after impressing in Stockholm where England lost 4-2 following a late collapse.
Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Birmingham), Joe Hart (Manchester City).
Defenders: Leighton Baines (Everton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Joleon Lescott (Manchester City), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), Kyle Walker (Tottenham).
Midfielders: Michael Carrick (Manchester United), Tom Cleverley (Manchester United), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Aaron Lennon (Tottenham), James Milner (Manchester City), Leon Osman (Everton), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal).
Forwards: Jermain Defoe (Tottenham), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Danny Welbeck (Manchester United).
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