Football

Ashley Cole talked up by Chelsea target Shaw

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Ashley Cole has been praised by none other than the man who could replace him at Stamford Bridge; Southampton's Luke Shaw.

The Blues have long been linked with a move for the Saints' highly-rated 18-year-old who has broken into the England team in just his second season of Premier League football.

If Shaw does sign for the Blues it could spell the end for experienced left-back Cole who has struggled to feature in manager Jose Mourinho's plans this season; right-footed Spaniard Cesar Azpilicueta has been preferred. 

The 33-year-old's lack of playing time at the Bridge could mean that Shaw - almost ever-present since debuting last season - could pip him to spot on the England team's plane to Brazil for the World Cup this summer.

Everton's Leighton Baines is a almost certainly expected to take one of the left-back slots, and Shaw still thinks he is unlikely to oust the 107-cap international in Roy Hodgson's 23-man squad. 

"Ashley has nothing to prove," he told The Sun.

"He has won 107 caps for his country; everyone knows what he can do.

"When I went to Stamford Bridge I used to watch him closely because I play in his position.

"There is no question he has been the world's best left-back for the last 10 years - and still is.

"People talk about his lack of starts at Chelsea this season - but, in my view, when Roy makes his decision on who to take to the World Cup that will not come into his thinking."

The Saints' Academy graduate gained his first taste of international football as a half-time replacement for Cole in the friendly win against Denmark but he isn't concentrating to adding to his one cap at the moment.

"We have five games left in the league - and I can only concentrate on that," the 18-year-old continued.

"Of course, all the players who have featured for England know the World Cup is close - but you cannot let it get into your head now.

"I'll always stay grounded and remain the same personality as I am now and stay close to all my friends, that means a lot to me.

"No one can be too big for their boots from Southampton's academy, we're not brought up that way. I will always keep my feet firmly on the ground."

Southampton have had a storming season and have charged to eighth in the Premier League in just their second campaign following back-to-back promotions from League One.

Cole's Chelsea, meanwhile, are still capable of winning the title in Mourinho's first season of his second spell at the Bridge.

The Blues travel to Swansea on Sunday in what will be a must-win match; they must keep the ground on Manchester City and Liverpool who will have played each other by the time Mourinho's men kick-off in Wales.

 

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Topics:
Chelsea
Luke Shaw
Football
Ashley Cole
Premier League

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