Cole To Captain England At Wembley

Image courtesy sport.uk.msn.com
Ashley Cole will make his 102nd England appearance against the Republic of Ireland. Image courtesy sport.uk.msn.com
Chelsea fullback Ashley Cole will lead his country into battle for the first time when England  takes on the Republic of Ireland  at Wembley on Thursday morning (AEST). With regular skipper Steven Gerrard recovering from a shoulder operation earlier this month, national boss Roy Hodgson has handed the 101 cap veteran with the skipper’s armband for his service to his country.

The ‘Three Lions’ are not only missing Gerrard but several other players as well, with Andy Carroll, Jack Wilshere, Tom Cleverley and Kyle Walker also ruled out through injury. Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney is expected to lead the line for the home side alongside Daniel Sturridge, who scored 11 goals in 16 appearances since joining the club during the summer transfer window.

Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni has been boosted by the availability of LA Galaxy marksman Robbie Keane after the veteran was released by the MLS club for the match despite the fact that it falls outside the international window. Striker Kevin Doyle, winger Anthony Pilkington and midfielder Paul Green are all unavailable however, as is defender Marc Wilson.

The most recent meeting between these clubs was at Lansdowne Road in 1995, when the fixture was abandoned due to crowd trouble in the 27th minute with the Republic leading 1-0 . When the sides did battle at Wembley in March 1991, the match finished 1-1  with Lee Dixon and Niall Quinn on the scoresheet.

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