Roy Hodgson has hinted that Ashley Cole's place in the England squad for World Cup 2014 is not certain.
The Chelsea left back has been left on the bench by Jose Mourinho for the Blues' last two games, while Leighton Baines impressed in his injury-induced absence for the Three Lions' final two qualifying matches.
Cole is expected to face Chile on Friday but Hodgson admits that the likes of Baines, plus youngsters Kieran Gibbs and Luke Shaw, mean that the Blues man will have to fight hard to keep his place in the side.
"From an England perspective, I'm still very happy to consider Ashley Cole as a potential English left-back," the manager told reporters, "but, as you know, the competition for that spot is particularly fierce.
"Baines is also playing well and on top of that we have Gibbs and Shaw - two younger players but who I think can definitely put these more senior ones under some pressure.
"I would definitely not be concerned, if there were no Ashley Cole or Leighton Baines, about Gibbs or Shaw playing."
Hodgson will give the newer members of his squad a chances against Chile and Germany and the 66-year-old has warned the likes of Adam Lallana and Jay Rodriguez that they must impress or risk missing out in future.
"It's going to be a big night for them if they get their chance and, unfortunately, if they do fail spectacularly and do really badly, it will be held against them," he remarked. "I would like to think that, if a guy gets a chance, he'll be good enough to take it and confirm that he deserves his place in the squad in the first place."
- Sports & Recreation
- Leighton Baines
- Ashley Cole
- Kieran Gibbs
- Luke Shaw
- Jose Mourinho