Considered one of the best defenders of his generation, Cole has been left out of manager Roy Hodgson’s World Cup squad – which is due to be announced today.
Hodgson described it as one of his “hardest” decisions.
“Among many difficult decisions I have had to make for my squad, not selecting Ashley was one of the hardest,” he told the FA’s website.
Hodgson told the 33-year-old he was putting his faith in youth, with an eye on both this summer’s World Cup and Euro 2016.
His107 caps put him fifth in England’s all-time appearances list.
“I got the call from Roy and agree the England team should be about the young players. I think it best I retire from the England team now,” Cole tweeted. “We have a great manager and team and I wish them only success. I will be supporting them like a true fan. Thanks to everyone for everything.”
Cole’s Chelsea contract expires in the summer and after limited action this term – which no doubt influenced Hodgson’s decision – his future is likely to be away from Stamford Bridge.
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