Ashley Cole

Following his debut for Arsenal in November 1999 and subsequent transfer to Chelsea in August 2006 Ashley Cole has achieved many domestic honours. Throughout a career of over 13 years to date Cole has won four FA Cups, one League Cup and most recently the UEFA Champions League.

Having made his first England appearance against Albania in March 2001 Cole has gone on to establish himself as one of the most highly rated players in his position not only in the country, but worldwide. His place in England’s starting XI for Wednesday’s friendly versus Brazil at Wembley earned Cole his 100th cap however his replacement by Leighton Baines at half time may have provided an insight into the future.

Is England’s most capped full back one of the ‘Old Guard’ being transitioned out by Roy Hodgson? We consider some potential replacements:

5. Nathaniel Clyne

Nathaniel Clyne

Following his debut for Crystal Palace in October 2008, 21 year old Clyne spent a further 3 seasons with the Eagles racking up a total of 122 first team appearances. During this time he was voted Crystal Palace Young Player of the Year 2009 & 2010, Football League Young Player of the Year 2010, Crystal Palace Player of the Year 2011 and was included in the 2011/12 PFA Championship Team of the Year. During this time Clyne also represented England sporadically at both U19 and U21 levels.

As a result of these successes Clyne managed to build himself a growing reputation as one of England’s best up & coming young stars and, becoming out of contract at Selhurst Park Clyne was quickly snapped up by Premier League new boys Southampton in July 2012. So far this season he has amassed over 20 appearances and scored his first goal for the Saints in a Premier League tie against Aston Villa in September 2012.

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This article was first posted on February 7, 2013