Date: 13th February 2014 at 11:08am
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Now we might be biased here on Vital Everton, but surely going into the World Cup Leighton Baines has to be England’s first choice left-back?

For years he has duelled it out with Chelsea’s Ashley Cole, but despite being able to brag that he has won over 100 caps for England the 33-year-old has lost his place in the Chelsea line-up.

He might remain the best left-back at Chelsea, but that isn’t enough for Jose Mourinho who has instead opted to play Spanish right-back Cesar Azpilicueta out of position in the role instead.

Ahead of the January transfer window Cole was being linked by the Sunday Express with a move to Real Madrid due to the connections with former Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti now at Real.

Whether there was anything in the rumour or not isn’t clear, but since the turn of the year Cole has made just two Premier League appearances.

Not great in a World Cup year when arguably you had lost your place on merit to Baines anyhow.

‘For years people have been understudy to Ashley. Now it’s Ashley’s turn to sit back,’ England boss Roy Hodgson told The BBC.

He continued: ‘It’s a bit of a problem when you are a full-back – you either play or you are an understudy, 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 wasn’t playing in his club team.


Was that a nod that experience will win out in Brazil?

‘He will have to accept like everyone else that competition for his place in the club team and international team gets stronger all the time, and I will have a decision to make.’

Everton’s Leighton Baines would be the favourite for the spot, but with one eye on the future do not rule out Southampton teenager Luke Shaw making a somewhat surprise inclusion.

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