In one of the most hotly debated decisions of this World Cup year, England manager Roy Hodgson decided to include youngster Luke Shaw over Chelsea FC veteran Ashley Cole. Cole has been an auxiliary figure for Chelsea this season but came on late in the season and played well enough to stir up the conversation about his place in the World Cup squad. However if it was based simply on form and merit rather than past experience, Shaw would have been the runaway choice. Experience is invaluable especially at the international level and Cole has plenty of that.
Roy Hodgson on his decision to leave Ashley Cole behind:
“It was an unbelievably hard decision because Ashley is a player that I and the rest of my staff really appreciate. He is a magnificent player and what he’s done for England is second to none. Luke Shaw has had a wonderful season. He is capturing all the headlines with his form and his ability. At the end of the day, it was a decision I had to take. I can only be unbelievably grateful for the gracious way [Cole] accepted the decision. Circumstances will prove whether the decision to take the younger player was the right one or not.”
Hodgson has admitted that he may be proven wrong if Leighton Baines is injured but that could be a chance for Shaw to shine. Cole was gracious in his acceptance of not being chosen for Brazil and tweeted a message of thanks through his official account.
While it may have left Chelsea fans and fans of Cole unhappy that one of their favorites is being left behind but it follows the trend of Hodgson relying more on youth than ever before. Whatever his reasoning is, the way the World Cup plays out will reveal whether or not Roy Hodgson made the right calls on more than just the squad.
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