Gary Neville raised an interesting point about Ashley Cole on Monday Night Football at the start of the week.
During an important discussion with Jamie Carragher about racism in football, which came following the alleged abuse suffered by Raheem Sterling in Manchester City’s 2-0 defeat to Chelsea, Neville recalled the treatment Cole received when he played for the England national team.
“Out of the golden generation, he was the only one I could actually say was world class in his position,” Neville said on Sky Sports. “He has had to escape this country.
“He is almost like a football refugee seeking asylum in MLS to get away from it, the way he has been treated.”
Cole has played abroad since 2014, appearing for Serie A outfit Roma and LA Galaxy in the United States.
The left-back made headlines for the wrong reasons on more than one occasion during his career - as did a host of other former England stars including Paul Gascoigne, Wayne Rooney and David Beckham.
But in Neville’s opinion, Cole and Sterling have never been afforded the level of adoration that the aforementioned trio received when the going was good.
Peter Crouch on Cole being booed
Peter Crouch, who played with Cole for England, has now addressed the matter.
The former England striker could never understand why Cole was booed when he represented his nation, claiming it suggested an “underlying ill-feeling” towards the former Arsenal and Chelsea defender.
“Ashley was an England colleague of mine and he was genuinely world-class, a player who hit eight or nine out of 10 each time he played,” Crouch wrote in his latest column for the Daily Mail.
“But the way he was booed when playing for England suggested there was some underlying ill-feeling towards him.
“People will say it stems from the money he asked for when he was playing for Arsenal but, be honest, he was not the only man to have contractual issues.
“Were people resentful of him? Ashley, I must stress, never said anything to us. If he felt there was something sinister behind his treatment, he didn't speak about it to the group. He just got on with it in the face of the booing and the shouting.
“And that is something I have never understood - why people behave in such an aggressive way once they step into a football ground.”
Maybe, we will look back on the lack of support shown to some England players with a tinge of regret.