Selhurst Park

Next Game

C Palace v Everton

Saturday, 31 January 2015, 15:00

Barclays Prem

Goodison Park

Last Game

Everton 0 - 0 W Brom

Monday, 19 January 2015, 20:00

Barclays Prem

Duo battling to join Baines

Leighton Baines is set to sit out England's friendly with Denmark, giving Ashley Cole and Luke Shaw a chance to impress.

Last Updated: 05/03/14 at 08:23 Post Comment

Ashley Cole (left): Has over 100 caps, while Luke Shaw (right) has none

Ashley Cole (left): Has over 100 caps, while Luke Shaw (right) has none

The Danes' visit to Wembley on Wednesday night marks the final friendly before England manager Roy Hodgson selects his squad to take to the World Cup in Brazil this summer.

Of the 23 men going to to the finals, there will only be two left-backs, and Hodgson's admission that he does not need to look at Baines suggests the Everton defender is almost certain to go to the tournament.

That leaves Cole and Shaw vying for the final position in the squad.

"I've spoken to Leighton and he won't feature tomorrow, unless we get an incredible number of injuries," said Hodgson.

"All three of them want to play but even with substitutions, I can't fit in three left-backs.

"It's the right moment in this game to look at one of or both Luke and Ashley Cole, as Leighton has been playing regularly for us.

"The two I need to look at in an England shirt are Ashley and Luke."

Cole will win his 107th cap, while Shaw will be making his senior international debut.

The Chelsea defender, 33, has the benefit of experience but has made just 12 Premier League starts this term, and only two of them have come since the turn of the year.

Meanwhile, his Southampton rival, who will not turn 19 until after the tournament, is regarded as one of the most promising players in English football.

Hodgson says he is not about to give up on Cole just yet.

"Knowing Ashley as I do," said Hodgson, "I'm pretty certain he is working every day to show Jose Mourinho he is making the right choice.

"If he doesn't get back in the team, it is not going to change my opinion on Ashley Cole.

"I know what he can do, 106 caps for England says everything. It would quite simply be a choice at the end."

England captain Steven Gerrard has played alongside Cole in the international set-up for over a decade and he is sure the full-back will not give his place up without a fight.

"If you're a winner, you want to play so I'm sure Ashley is frustrated, but he's working to get back in the Chelsea team," the Liverpool midfielder said.

"He's never let the country down and has always been a very consistent player. Watching him the last couple of days I didn't see any problems with his fitness, and that's when he's not been playing."

Hodgson has also hinted that he could experiment with new formations, even though England lost both their November home friendlies to Chile and Germany when he last tinkered with the team and shape.

No England manager has ever lost three home games in a row, but Hodgson - who is expected to also field Raheem Sterling, Jordan Henderson and Adam Lallana on Wednesday - is not overly concerned by that.

"We don't want to lose games at Wembley, but (this game) won't decide whether we win the World Cup or we don't," he said.

"This is our last game before the World Cup so I'm hoping we won't lose, but I can't elevate it to the importance of the World Cup.

"If it so happened that we did lose, but I learnt some very important lessons that prevented a major mistake when I named the 23, it could be a benefit in disguise."

Kyle Walker will miss the game against the Danes, which will be preceded by a minute's applause in the memory of former England player Sir Tom Finney, who died on February 14.

Former Denmark coach Richard Moller Nielsen, who also died last month, will also be remembered before kick-off.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

T

he thing is, footballers are role models, and children are influenced by them. I watched the Chelsea game with my 6 year old, and at school the next day she stamped on Emre Can.

megabrow (cufc)
Diego Costa: The Patron Saint Of S**thousery

Y

et again Barcelona try to convince the world that they only play the most virtuous of football. I've never seen a team so willing and able to dish out lumps but feel so self-righteous that no opposition player should ever have the audacity to tackle them.

charsmatcengma
Enrique hauls Neymar to safety

I

d love to see a United v Liverpool FA cup final. It would certainly fit the narrative. Obv I'd want the ending to be one of an O.G. and tears as he collects his runner-up medal.

GVMUFC
Gerrard Constantly Searching For That Final Hurrah

Footer 365

FA back Prince Ali to stand against Blatter for FIFA presidency

The Football Association has formally nominated Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein to stand against Sepp Blatter for the FIFA presidency.

Transfer news: Chelsea close to deal for Juan Cuadrado

Chelsea are close to agreeing a deal with Fiorentina for winger Juan Cuadrado, according to Sky sources.

Brendan Rodgers: Daniel Sturridge can shine new light on revamped Liverpool

Brendan Rodgers expects the imminent return of "reference point" Daniel Sturridge to help Liverpool push for a top-four place.

Mail Box

It's A Massive, Big, Brilliant Mailbox

And we left lots of Suarez/Costa mails unopened. What we do have is a video of some rotten Suarez tackles and views on the future of football, Spurs, Liverpool and...

But Biting Doesn't Hurt Like Stamping...

There are Liverpool fans arguing that Luis Suarez is nowhere near Diego Costa's sh*t-house league but we have plenty of love for the agitator too. Oh and Spurs...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company