Hodgson casts Cole doubts

Roy Hodgson has suggested that Ashley Cole may miss out on travelling to next summer’s World Cup finals, the Guardian understands.

The England manager has maintained that he would not write off the defender’s chances of making his squad, but has admitted that it is the 33 year old’s ‘turn to sit back’ after being first choice for so many years.

Everton’s Leighton Baines is Cole’s strongest competitor for a starting berth at left-back, while Luke Shaw of Southampton, who has emerged as one of the brightest talents in that position over the past twelve months, is set to be named in England’s squad for next month’s friendly against Denmark.

Cole has not started any of Chelsea’s last four games due to the continued form of Cesar Azpilicueta, who Jose Mourinho has selected ahead of him on a number of occasions this season.

Meanwhile, Arsenal’s inability to take all three points from their clash with Premier League champions Manchester United means that the Blues remain top of the table going into FA Cup fifth round weekend.

Manchester City were also unable to capitalise after their game against Sunderland was postponed due to the appalling weather conditions in the North West, while Liverpool moved to within four points of first place after beating Fulham 3-2 at Craven Cottage.