Cole’s Injury Leaves Huge Opportunities

October 8, 2013 in International by Daniel Lloyd

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It is a widespread opinion that while Ashley Cole has been England’s number one left back for the past the past 12 years. Lately he has got more than a little competition of keeping that place, with Leighton Baines right behind him in the pecking order. And with Cashley picking up a rib injury recently, another opportunity has arisen for Baines to cement his intentions to take that number one spot away from Cole.

England v Switzerland - EURO 2012 Qualifier

While the left back position for England hasn’t had much competition before, it has suddenly become one of the hottest contested spots in the team, with numerous young talents all available to play there. Obviously there are the two front runners in Cole and Baines, but behind them there is such a plethora of exciting, untapped talent that awaits England in the future. Kieran Gibbs has appeared a couple of times for England already, and is competing to be Arsenal’s number one at the moment with Nacho Monreal while they sit on the top of the league.

Another talent is Danny Rose. This lad shone through during his loan at Sunderland last season, and it seems to be a trend that when one for the future goes to the Stadium of Light, they tend to return to their team the next season and get a shot at the big time: Danny Welbeck being the other example. He’s ousted Benoit Assou-Ekotto from the team and is currently one of Spurs’ brightest young stars.

Another possibility for the future would be Cole’s Chelsea teammate Ryan Bertrand, who has all the skills to become a top left back but just hasn’t found the opportunity to get enough game time under The Special One’s second reign. A loan move could see him shine and make a claim for Ashley’s spot for both club and country. Bertrand’s stamina and pace have quickly seen him likened to Ashley, although with his limited opportunities he could well change position to a more attacking role.

The real shining star at the moment out of the group of youngsters would have to be Luke Shaw. With Southampton at the tender age of 18, he has already made 30 starts for the Saints with many people tipping him as a future wonder kid. After featuring prominently in Southampton’s shockingly good start to the season, the defence has leaked just two goals, with Shaw playing a part, as well as bombing down the wing to help out any attacks they have.

But let’s not get mixed up. At age 32, Cole’s international career is running on it’s last legs; after next year’s World Cup I fully expect him to retire internationally. But he might not even make it that far. Let’s not forget that last year Baines surpassed Cole in appearances for England, and with Cole out for the last two crucial qualifiers against Montenegro and Poland, impressive performances could see Baines as the England left back in Brazil.

To sum up, Baines has long been considered the best left back in England by a multitude of people around the country, but within the next week, he could have Roy seeing the light too.