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England v Poland: Steven Gerrard All Praise For Ashley Cole, Roy Hodgson Undecided on Team Line-up

By Staff Reporter, Posted: 10/16/12 08:04PM EDT
Chelsea's Ashley Cole
File photo shows Chelsea's Ashley Cole controlling the ball during the Champions League quarter-final second leg match against Benfica at Stamford Bridge Stadium in London.(Photo : Reuters)


England captain Steven Gerrard, who was serving a suspension, will be back in the team for Tuesday's World Cup qualifier match against Poland in Warsaw.

The Three Lions captain has already bestowed faith in Chelsea defender Ashley Cole, who was rested during England's 5-0 drubbing of San Marino at the Wembley.

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Cole has been in the news for his twitter outburst against England football's governing body the FA, following allegations that he had "evolved" his statement during John Terry's hearing in the "racial abuse case" directed against Queen Park Ranger's Anton Ferdinand.

Later, Cole had apologized to the FA when the tweets went viral.
Gerrard went on to say that he will welcome Cole back in the team when he returns to the starting line-up against Poland.

If selected Cole and Gerrard will be playing for 99th time for the Three Lions. "It is important to speak about Ashley as a player," Gerrard told Skysports.

"Privately he is quite quiet and reserved. But he comes alive on the pitch. It's been an absolute pleasure to play with him over the years. He's been one of the best left-backs this country has ever produced. Let's enjoy the last few years of his time with us."

Meanwhile, England manager Roy Hodgson has said that he is under no pressure from the FA over Cole's selection.

"That's been dealt with very clearly this week," said Hodgson. "We had the incident and the situation, and that was dealt with to the FA's satisfaction.
"The chairman [David Bernstein] made his views very clear. I've been allowed to concentrate on football and to work with Ashley on the field. That is all," added Hodgson.

Cole had personally apologized to FA chairman Bernstein over the issue. However, his return is still not certain as Hodgson had included the in-form Leighton Baines in the squad.

"Ashley is still a fantastic player," said Hodgson. "We are lucky though, because Ashley was regarded as the only left-back in England for many years. Now we have Leighton Baines, who will always push him and some interesting younger left-backs like Kieran Gibbs and Ryan Bertrand."
"It's been a problem position in many of the countries I've worked, but we are very well off, which is encouraging because, if anything, the importance of their role has increased."

 It is certain that Gerrard will play alongside Michael Carrick  and striker Rooney, but, whether Joleon Lescott, Ashley Cole and Jermain Defoe will be part of starting line-up in the match Tuesday is not clear.

 Though Hodgson will be without Frank Lampard, Ryan Bertrand and Theo Walcott on Tuesday, he still has a few selection headaches after the impressive form of left-back Leighton Baines and Welbeck against San Marino.

 "You do get more of a selection headache, but all coaches will tell you selection headaches are what we're after," said Hodgson.


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