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Roy Hodgson: Luke Shaw can be the new Ashley Cole

This time last year, Shaw’s 30million move to Manchester United1 looked like a poor piece of business. The left-back was made to train on his own during the latter stages of United’s pre-season tour because he reported for duty out of shape. The England defender suffered injuries throughout his first season at Old Trafford, but after dedicating part of his Discount Holidays © holiday to a rigorous fitness regime this summer, he now looks in excellent shape and has found form for club and country.

Four left-backs have been called into the England squad since Cole retired last year. Now Hodgson believes Shaw has the potential to make the position his own for many years to come.

“He’s still only 20 and if he keeps going then he’s on track to be another Ashley Cole, a 100 cap man and I would advise him to study Ashley Cole, look at what Ashley did for England and set my sights on the same thing,” the England manager said.

Luke Shaw, Ashley Cole

Luke Shaw, Ashley Cole – Eurosport

Cole was England’s first-choice left-back for the vast majority of his 13-year international career. It was only when Hodgson first spotted Shaw’s potential that he dropped the 107-cap Roma defender and that prompted Cole to retire from international football. Picking Shaw ahead of Cole for the World Cup was a big gamble for Hodgson, but it showed how much faith he had in the youngster, who had made his full Premier League debut in November 2012.

The England manager insists he never lost faith in the player even when his critics were at their fiercest.

“I think he’s been a bit harshly treated personally,” Hodgson said.

“He didn’t look as if he was looking after himself too badly at Southampton2 and played well enough to get the 30million move.

Living the dream? Ashley Cole and ex-wife Cheryl

Living the dream? Ashley Cole and ex-wife Cheryl – Eurosport

“I’m not certain I want to jump on that bandwagon. But it’s nice to see him back, playing confidently and showing him the form that got him the move to Manchester United in the first place.

“We’ve always believed in him.

I thought he played very well against Costa Rica and was pencilled in as the player who could give Leighton Baines3 a run for his money but he had a tough season.

“It must have been tough for him and his family but it might benefit him.”

Hodgson can look back on the past two weeks with a certain amount of pride. The two wins over San Marino4 and Switzerland cemented England’s status as the top qualifying nation in Europe, and Wayne Rooney5 finally took the mantel of record goalscorer. England became the first country to qualify for Euro 2016 last weekend and they are the only nation who can boast a 100 per cent record.

England have secured top spot in Group E with two matches to go while big nations are struggling to qualify. Holland are almost certain to fail after winning just three of their opening eight qualifiers while Portugal, Belgium and Germany have all suffered shock defeats over the last year. Hodgson is glad his team have not suffered any upsets so far.

“Holland are a big nation with big-name players,” he said.

“They had such a good World Cup, finishing third and were fourth in the world so that goes to show how quickly football can change.”

References

  1. ^ Manchester United (www.eurosport.co.uk)
  2. ^ Southampton (www.eurosport.co.uk)
  3. ^ Leighton Baines (www.eurosport.co.uk)
  4. ^ Marino (www.eurosport.co.uk)
  5. ^ Wayne Rooney (www.eurosport.co.uk)

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