England manager Roy Hodgson botched the announcement as he initially made it sound as though Frank Lampard would captain the Three Lions against the Republic of Ireland tonight and Ashley Cole would just be leading the team out to celebrate his 100+ caps, but the left-back will be the skipper.
Cole will play his 102nd game of his international career at Wembley against Giovanni Trappattoni’s Green Army at Wembley Stadium (8PM Kick-Off), and will wear the armband as Steven Gerrard is absent and vice-captain Lampard agrees that his team-mate should be afforded the honour.
“Everyone is behind Ashley in this matter.
“We talked about it in the past, his reluctance to play the captain’s role in front of the mass media, and we all understand and accept that, but everyone thought it would be nice if he put the armband on and led the team out.
“Frank was more than happy to pass on that honour because we all believe he deserves it. He has been a fantastic servant not only to Chelsea and Arsenal but England as well.”
Whilst Lampard heaped praise on Cole:
“Knowing him getting 100 caps and the way he has performed as the most consistent left-back in world football over such a long period of time, it’s the perfect gesture and very much deserved for him. As a team-mate at club level and international I’m very happy for him.”
Chelsea’s Gary Cahill is also part of the England squad along with Lampard and Cole. Lampard believes that the Blues’ strong finish to the season could help bring confidence to the Three Lions’ camp:
“It’s nice to come in on a run of confidence, to finish how I did and for us as a club to win the Europa league brings a few of us, Ashley and Gary Cahill, in on a confident run. If we can bring that onto the pitch it can only be a bonus.”
The match against Ireland is the first of two friendlies for England in the coming week as Hodgson’s men will jet off for Rio de Janeiro to play Brazil at the Maracana Stadium on Sunday June 2nd.