The Andy Gray Column: Ashley Cole should captain England at 100 cap milestone despite FA outburst

Summary: ambassador Andy Gray was talking exclusively to SouthWest Londoner…


THE FIVE previous England players to reach 100 caps have all captained their country when they’ve reached that milestone, and despite his outburst at the FA I fully expect Ashley Cole to be given the same honour.

I’m not sure if it will happen next week because I think Roy Hodgson will rest Ashley against San Marino and bring in Leighton Baines, with Ashley getting his 99th cap against Poland on Tuesday – but for me it’s a case of when not if.

Ashley has had one or two chequered incidents in his career but that shouldn’t deflect from the fact he’s represented his country for the best part of 100 times.

Why wouldn’t the FA allow it? He’s played as well as anyone and probably more consistently in those 100 caps.

He may not be everyone’s cup of tea but neither was David Beckham – it’s one of those things where you understand it’s the right thing to do, and I don’t think he should be treated any differently.

When he gets his 100th cap, even if it arrives at the same day as Steven Gerrard who is also on 98 caps at the moment, I think Steven would be happy to stand aside and say, ‘I captain the country every game, in recognition of your 100 caps I’ll let you do it’.

Ashley has been charged with bringing the game into disrepute but the punishment has got to fit the crime so banning him from an international match would have been too harsh for me.

In my opinion he made a mistake but he very quickly deleted what he wrote from Twitter, and very quickly apologized to David Bernstein and everyone concerned for his error of judgement.

I think Ashley will get a hefty fine and may even get banned from a club game for Chelsea, but I don’t see any reason why he should be banned from playing for his country.

Footballers like rules, they like things being black and white when it comes to knowing how to behave, so I think the FA’s new code of conduct for the England players will be a good thing.

If David Bernstein and the FA bring in a set of ground rules and anyone falls foul of it, then they know they’re in trouble.

At least everyone knows where they stand before everyone starts out. Whether it will work or not I don’t know but it draws a line in the sand and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Sometimes footballers put themselves in the firing line when they use Twitter, Facebook and social media.

I don’t tweet but people tell me it’s like making a phone call or making a letter – you should never do those things when you’re angry, because you tend to say and write the wrong things.

That’s the advice footballers should be getting. In general a lot of people use it properly though there are the odd few who abuse people but that’s the nature of what it is.

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