KRAKOW: Ashley Cole has talked, in a rare interview, of having “unfinished business” with international football for all that he will win his 98th cap against Italy in Kyiv in the Euro 2012 quarter-final.
Cole, who has steered clear of the media in general and newspapers in particular after a variety of appearances on the tabloid front pages rather than the back pages, was talking to BBC Radio’s Mike Ingham.
He explained the “unfinished business” reference by saying: “You play for your country and it is amazing to do that. But you play to win. I have never had the joy of winning with my country. I am not getting too ahead of myself or the team but so far it is going well.
“We have a tough game on Sunday but dreams come true and hopefully this can be one of mine.”
If England reach the final then, barring injuries or red cards between now and then, it would be Cole’s 100th appearance for his country.
Cole conceded to regrets over the way in which events had transpired but said: “There’s nothing I can do about them now. That’s over. Footballers are not like any different person. Everyone makes mistakes and everyone learns from them. That is what football is about as well.”
Cole was full of praise for Chelsea team-mate John Terry, a similar lightning rod for controversy, saying: “He has been a great servant for Chelsea. Whatever has gone on in his life, he has put to the back of his mind and done his job in a great professional way.
“He is someone who would put his body on the line for any team and any player he plays with. He is a joy to play with.”
Much the same applied to his present England team-mates. Cole said: “With most English lads, and you see it with this group, we are like 11 bulldogs, who always work for each other and die on the pitch for each other. So far it has worked.”
Cole has won a record seven FA Cup medals with Arsenal and Chelsea to fulfil many of his childhood ambitions.
He said: “I wouldn’t have believed it if someone had told me when I was a 16-year-old coming through the Arsenal youth team. When you are growing up, you want to win caps and play as many games as you can for your country. I have been lucky enough to play 97 times and, you never know, hopefully get to 100 in the final.
“It is what little kids’ dreams are made of.
“If you put your mind to it you can do anything. It was hard for me growing up with my mum and brother but I always had my family behind me to do what I enjoy.
“I just loved football, being outside with my mates and getting really muddy, dirty and smelly. At 16, when you are in the youth team of any club, you watch the first team and you want to emulate that and be those players. I am so lucky to have had the career I have had and play with so many amazing players.”
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