England defender Ashely Cole has been handed the captaincy for Wednesday's friendly against the Republic of Ireland as a tribute for reaching 100 caps.

Cole joins the likes of Peter Shilton, David Beckham, Bobby Moore and Bobby Charlton to reach the 100-cap club and England manager Roy Hodgson is rewarding the Chelsea full-back with the captaincy after his services to the national team.

In the pre-match press conference Roy Hodgson was full of praise for Cole, whose international playing career has spanned over 12 years since his debut in March 2001, when Sven-Goran Eriksen handed the left-back his first senior call-up in the friendly game against Albania.

"He has been a fantastic servant, not just for Arsenal and Chelsea but for England as well," Hodgson told reporters.

Hodgson had initially agreed to hand Frank Lampard the captaincy in Steven Gerrard's absence but has since decided to appoint Cole as the captain for the game.

"Frank's always been the captain in Steve's absence," he added. "I appointed him when I started over a year ago. But in actual fact tomorrow - Frank and I have discussed this - Frank's happy for Ashley to lead the team onto the field in celebration of his 100th cap, which he'll receive tomorrow.

"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 has also praised his Chelsea team-mate personally, saying that Cole more than deserves the honour.

"The way he has performed, he has been the most consistent left-back in world football," the midfielder commented. "The gesture is very much deserved and I am very happy for him."


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