What Is The Future of Ashley Cole?


395 top flight appearances, 16 goals. 106 international appearances. Three time premier league champion, seven time FA Cup winner. UEFA Europa League and Champions League winner. At first glance, does this sound like the resume of a footballer who can’t even sniff the pitch at the moment? No? Well in Ashley Cole’s case, the answer would be yes. Once considered to be (arguably) the best left back in the world, Cole has found himself out of favor lately with manager Jose Mourinho.

So why has Cole been relegated to the bench? It’s been an unfortunate domino effect for the England international. While Branislav Ivanovic had proven he could play right back in the past, prior to the season a logical choice would be put start Cole on the left and Cesar Azpilicueta on the right. This would give the Blues two solid options at fullback and Ivanovic could provide cover at both central defender and right back. So far, Mourinho has made Ivanovic his preferred right back, and has put Azpilicueta at left back, a position he wasn’t very familiar with this season. Azpilicueta has filled in admirably at left back, leaving Mourinho no choice but to keep him there until his performance drops.

So Cole, who had made 20 total appearances for Chelsea this season, finds himself on the bench not necessarily due to his own lack of production, but being outplayed by his teammates. There is no doubt that Cole has lost a step, but his positioning, aggressiveness, and experience are unquestioned.

So the big question is yet to be answered, what exactly is Ashley Cole’s future? It is a question that could have a few different outcomes. The first of which being continuing on the path he is currently on. Cole could continue to flounder on the bench, making appearances here and there. This would signal an unfortunate and unceremonious exit from Stamford Bridge, and would put his World Cup ambitions in serious doubt.

In another scenario, Cole could somehow work his way back into the plans of Mourinho, and begin to get some playing time back. At least giving Azpilicueta rest when he needs it, and possibly making some starting appearances. In this case, I feel that he would at least earn himself another one year extension, if he were willing to accept the offer. If this played out, it would be difficult to keep him out of the World Cup squad on experience alone.

The final “dream” scenario would be a situation where Cole somehow won his spot back, and began to a regular starting XI member again. He would begin to start most games, and surely claim his ticket to Brazil. As things currently are, this almost has no chance of happening, but as they say, “you never know.”

Based on his playing history, and time at Chelsea, he’s done enough to at least get offered another one year extension. Even if he continues to see sporadic playing time, with the right wage amount, he could be brought back for another (perhaps final) season at Stamford Bridge. Though Cole could be lured away if he doesn’t like what Chelsea offer him, maybe to the MLS? In any event, it will surely be interesting to see what’s in store for Ashley Cole.

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