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Analysis: Did Ashley Cole's performance vs Atletico Madrid prove a point?

Ashley Cole

In what could well be one of the last chances for Chelsea left-back Ashley Cole to prove himself to Roy Hodgson before the World Cup, he certainly did himself justice.

In what proved to be a defensive masterclass by Chelsea, it was hard to get away from the fact that three of the four defenders were in fact English.

One player that had more to prove on the pitch than anyone else was definitely Ashley Cole. He has almost become a forgotten man this season and the game against Atletico Madrid was just his 18th appearance for Chelsea in both Premier League and Champions League competitions.

He played 12 minutes in Chelsea's 3-0 win over Stoke earlier in the month, however, aside from that he has had to watch from the bench in recent weeks.

When it was first announced he was playing, there was understandably a bit of concern about his match fitness and sharpness.

In my opinion, those concerns grew further within the first five or ten minutes, as he looked to try and get his bearings and judge the movement of his teammates.

Nevertheless, as the game grew so did the experienced full-back. He positioned himself well defensively, cut the danger out down his side and organised himself and his teammates well.

It was an Ashley Cole performance of which we have become accustom to over the years, one that had earned himself the tag of the world's best.

The only concern I consistently had throughout the match regarding Cole was his lack of attacking intent. I understand he was playing to a very rigid and watertight game plan, but I think on some occasions in the game, if he had overlapped William, he could have been an attacking threat too.

It was a high intensity game played in a hostile environment, and even though he hasn't played a full 90 minutes since  26th January, he did a very good job.

It was a performance that will no doubt give Roy Hodgson an even bigger headache when it comes to World Cup selection.

The left-back spot has become England's most hotly contested position this season with Leighton Baines, Kieran Gibbs, Luke Shaw, Ashley Cole and now even Jon Flanagan all putting in a strong claim.

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