Cole to lead out England for Ireland clash

Cole to lead out England for Ireland clash

England manager Roy Hodgson has asked Ashley Cole to lead the team out for tomorrow night’s friendly meeting with the Republic of Ireland.

Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard will captain the team in Steven Gerrard’s absence but, in tribute to Cole reaching 100 caps, his Blues team-mate will be first onto the pitch at Wembley.

Hodgson told Sky Sports News: “Frank’s always been the captain in Steve’s absence. I appointed him when I started over a year ago.

“But in actual fact tomorrow, Frank and I have discussed this and Frank’s happy for Ashley to lead the team onto the field in celebration of his 100th cap, which he’ll receive tomorrow.

“It’s actually his 102nd appearance. Frank and I are happy that he will lead the team out there but Frank still remains the captain of the team.”

Hodgson later said that Cole would be the captain for the duration of the match.

England face Ireland on the international stage for the first time since a game was abandoned due to rioting at Lansdowne Road in 1995.

Hodgson this week helped prepare a letter that was sent to all those fans holding a ticket for tomorrow night’s match, urging supporters to refrain from indulging in provocative behaviour or chanting at Wembley.

“It’s very important,” he added. “It almost goes without saying that you want fans to respect the opposition and I’m hoping that (happens), because tomorrow night is such an important part of our Jubilee year and I hope our fans are going to come there and cheer us to a victory.

“I was very happy to send out the letter to try and make sure that the game is played in the right spirit as I know it will be on the field.

“I hope the fans, and the Irish fans, show the level of respect that we would expect for a game of this type.

“I’m looking forward to it very much. Not only have the Republic of Ireland got a fantastic record, but they’ve reached major tournaments and have shown they’re a difficult team for any opponent.

“I think it’s very fitting that we now play one of the other home nations and in Ireland we know we’re going into the kind of quality game that will help us prepare for our important games in October.”

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