England international Ashley Cole has had his World Cup spot put in danger following a three-month absence from the Chelsea starting line-up.
The 33-year-old left-back has suffered during Jose Mourinho’s first season back at Stamford Bridge, and he quickly found himself ousted from Chelsea’s starting XI by the impressive Cesar Azpilicueta.
Months had passed since Cole was last in the public eye, and it was a huge surprise to see him line-up in the Chelsea defence sporting a fully-grown beard as the Blues recorded back-to-back clean sheets away at Atletico Madrid and Liverpool.
Cole’s performances in both games were as impressive as his facial hair, and he revealed the reason behind the new look.
“At the start I was just lazy, not getting my hair cut, and my beard grew. I have got no one to impress, no one to shave for,” He is quoted as saying by the Mirror.
The sudden emergence of English talent has put Cole under pressure for his place. Everton’s Leighton Baines is the natural successor in the England team, but Southampton’s Luke Shaw and Liverpool’s Jon Flanagan have also performed excellently in their full debut Premier League campaigns.
One area where Cole excels, however, is his experience in big-game situations. The coveted Chelsea ace has won a host of trophies with his club, and his penalty shootout conversion against Bayern Munich in the Champions League final in 2012 proves he’s mentally a strong character.
Regardless of Cole’s lack of first-team action, he can be counted on and with Hodgson set for a big decision, the Chelsea defender has promised to revert back to the old look should he get the nod.
“It would be hot playing it in summer. So if I do make it to the England squad it [the beard] will be off!”