The Rundown

10 reasons to like Ashley Cole

The Rundown

So Ashley Cole's appointment as England captain for tonight's friendly against the Republic of Ireland has caused something of a stir.

The media storm is nicely summarised in this morning's Paper Round - the gist is that Cole is not an appropriate skipper, just nine months after a foul-mouthed (and hilarious) rant against the FA.

We at the Rundown, ever keen to champion an unfashionable cause, beg to differ.

Here's why Ashley Cole is a great man and the perfect England captain.

1-He's really good at football - As our man Jim White says, he's probably the best England player of his generation and the only one with any chance of getting into a World XI. He has been England's best player at their last three major tournaments.

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2-He takes the same approach to contract negotiations as you - "He is taking the p***, Jonathan!" - Cole's infamous reply to his agent when told of Arsenal's £55k-a-week contract offer.

But he's the thing - Cole says he had already been promised £60k. If you have agreed a contract, then at the last moment your employer offers you 8.3 per cent less, you're not going to be happy, are you?

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3-He's probably not that bad a bloke - You've never met Ashley Cole. And when you think about why you don't like him, it boils down to his unwillingness to adopt a falsely diplomatic media persona. He doesn't just trot out bland cliches - you know, the same bland cliches that make people like you lament the lack of characters in the modern game.

Until you meet Ashley Cole, or he does something undeniably contemptuous - like, say, racially abuse an opponent, you can keep your opinions to yourself. You hypocrite.

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4-He's got the medals to back up the bravado - How often does the media lament modern footballers' ability to talk the talk without walking the walk? Young men with a sense of entitlement far outweighing what they have actually achieved in their lives.

Well, take a look at Ashley Cole's medals:
Premier League - three
FA Cup - seven (a record)
League Cup - one
Community Shield - three
Champions League - one
Europa League - one
PFA Team of the Year - four
UEFA Team of the Year - two

As Cole himself said after Chelsea won the Champions League: "Now no one can say nothing to me." And yet opposition fans still manage to come up with a few things.

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5-This photo

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6-Those Twitter meltdowns - Obnoxious? Probably. Ill-advised? Definitely. But Ashley Cole's rants certainly make the world a more entertaining place.

This was his finest hour, after the FA report into the John Terry case said Cole's evidence had "evolved".

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But this recent outburst (not deleted, unlike the #BUNCHOFT***S masterpiece), was just as good in many ways.

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7-His mental toughness

Can you imagine receiving constant, vitriolic abuse while you do your job? Can you imagine just brushing it off, and never letting it affect your level of performance - performances delivered in front of millions of people and thousands of baying fans?

No, you can't. So if he seems a little arrogant - let's just say you'd probably have to be to put up with everything Cole does.

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8-The England captaincy is already devalued -We all like a bit of fake outrage, but really - you're saying Ashley Cole is the man who has tainted the England captaincy? You're talking about an armband that has been worn 34 times by the person pictured below.

Rather than pretending it conveys some sort of moral authority, England should just do what the Italians do and toss a strip of cloth to the guy with the most caps... who happens to be Ashley Cole.

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9-He's never shot a work experience student - Oh, wait...

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10-Erm.... did we mention he's really good at football?

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