sport

Cole upbeat over England

Ashley Cole is hoping his recent performances have shown that he is still good enough to be playing for England.

The 33-year-old has come under increased scrutiny in recent months, with many observers questioning whether Cole should be in England's World Cup plans after spending most of his season on the bench at Chelsea.

Cole has been recalled in the last week, and played a starring role in Chelsea's draw at Atletico Madrid and the win at Liverpool - both of which came courtesy of clean sheets.

While Everton's Leighton Baines is virtually assured of a place in Roy Hodgson's 23-man party for Brazil and Southampton's Luke Shaw is pushing hard for a place, Cole remains hopeful that he will go to his fourth World Cup finals.

"There was probably a lot of pressure on me to fight for my England spot," Cole told beIn SPORTS.

"Maybe not just my starting spot even - just to get on the plane. I think everyone wanted me to fail, to be honest.

"I think real football fans understand what I bring to a team and what I give to a team and if I do make it on the plane hopefully people can see that.

"But ultimately most people wanted me to fail in Madrid last week, for sure.

"Maybe people have seen me play for 13 years for my country and have probably had enough of it.

"You look at the players and you have Baines who is playing brilliant and young Luke Shaw who has done amazing this season so I don't blame them, they've got reasons to."

Cole is currently sporting a beard, which he says will not be staying if he does go to Brazil.

"At the start I was just lazy, not getting my hair cut, and my beard grew," he said. "I've got no one to impress, no one to shave for.

"But it would be hot playing it in summer. So if I do make it to the England squad it will be off!"