Football - Cole to captain England after Hodgson clarification

England manager Roy Hodgson has clarified that Ashley Cole will captain the side for Wednesday night's friendly against the Republic of Ireland, having earlier appeared to ask both Cole and team-mate Frank Lampard to assume captaincy roles.

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Football - Cole to captain England after Hodgson clarification
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Ashley Cole will make his 102nd England appearance on Wednesday night

Chelsea midfielder Lampard was set to 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.

But the move immediately sparked controversy, with the Daily Telegraph reporting it as a 'captaincy farce', and confusion reigning as to whether Cole would keep the armband for the match, or whether it would pass to Lampard before kick-off.

In interviews with the written media, Hodgson clarified that Cole would be captain throughout Wednesday's game - but that Lampard would take care of the media duties in the run-up to the match.

That appeared to contradict what the England manager had told Sky Sports News in his earlier conference: "Frank's always been the captain in Steve's absence. I appointed him when I started over a year ago. But in actual fact, 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 at the game."

He added: "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."

Lampard had praised the move to mark Cole's service to England, saying: "It's the perfect gesture."

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