Going into the 2014 Brazil World Cup it had long been thought that Ashley Cole would enjoy one last swansong to his England career.
A consummate professional on the pitch, Cole has already won 106 England caps and seemed destined to add at least three more to his tally at the World Cup.
After losing his starting place for Chelsea however, things are no longer so simple for the veteran left back.
Once a certainty on the Stamford Bridge team sheet Cole has been eclipsed this season by Spanish full back César Azpilicueta.
Although Azpilicueta has made only three more league starts than Cole the Englishman hasn't appeared in a game since the FA cup fourth round home tie against Stoke. Azpilicueta meanwhile hasn't missed a minute of action as Chelsea have moved their way up to first place in the league.
As England manager Roy Hodgson is no doubt aware of this and when pressed on the matter by the BBC, he said: "For years people have been understudy to Ashley. Now it's Ashley's turn to sit back."
Whilst refusing to close the door on Cole if he doesn't win his place in the Chelsea starting eleven the England Boss went on to say that Cole "will have to accept like everyone else that competition for his place in the club team and international team gets stronger all the time, and I will have a decision to make".
When Hodgson comes to make this decision the question now is who will get the nod ahead of Cole?
The strong favourite must be long time international understudy Leighton Baines. Although he hasn't hit the heights of form he did last year the 29-year-old offers Hodgson a potent attacking threat.
Not only does Baines provide width and accurate crossing down the left he also is a left-footed deadball specialist.
Should Baines not secure the spot though Hodgson could look to build to the future with Southampton wonderkid Luke Shaw.
With 23 Premier League appearances already this season Shaw has risen to prominence in a youth packed Southampton side. The experience that the teenager would get from a World Cup could be invaluable going forward.
The question now is whether Ashley Cole has the fitness and desire to fight off these challenges to his World Cup place?
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