ENGLAND manager Roy Hodgson has revealed his relief after Ashley Cole personally apologised to the Football Association chairman David Bernstein for calling the organisation a “bunch of t***s”.
The FA have given Hodgson full authority to decide if the Chelsea defender should play in Friday’s World Cup qualifier at home to San Marino and while he may yet be rested ahead of the more difficult fixture anticipated away to Poland four days later, Hodgson was regardless pleased to learn that the incident had been concluded.
“I’m pleased the chairman has gracefully accepted the apology from Ashley,” said Hodgson. “I know how saddened he was by it and I’m glad it’s been resolved. I always hoped this would be sorted out and I’m very happy with the outcome.”
Though Bernstein said that he felt it unlikely that 98-cap Cole would captain England when he makes his 100th international appearance, he also insisted that he holds no grudge. He said: “He showed real remorse. I looked him in the eye and I accept that. He is free to play for England.”
Yesterday’s training session was the first following the official opening of the FA’s £105m centre of excellence at St George’s Park in Staffordshire for which the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were also present, but it was one that both the captain Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard would miss.
Both midfielders participated in a warm-up but they were thereafter restricted to work on their individual fitness. Gerrard is suspended for Friday’s match so Lampard, who is expected to be available, is likely the lead the team in his absence. Also unavailable was Jermain Defoe, who was in the gym, and Ryan Bertrand who was unwell.