KRAKOW, Poland – Ashley Cole has warned Italy to prepare for “11 bulldogs” blocking their path to the European Championship semifinals when they take on England in Kiev on Sunday.
In a rare interview, the notoriously media-shy Cole told BBC Five Live that England's were prepared to “die on the pitch for each other” in their quest for success at a major tournament.
Cole, 31, will make his 98th appearance against the Azzurri on Sunday and if England somehow manage to confound expectations and reach the final, he could finish the tournament with 100 caps to his name.
“It is something when you are growing up, you want to win caps and play as many games as you can for your country,” the Chelsea defender said.
“I have been lucky enough to play 97 times and, you never know, but hopefully get to 100 in the final, which would be amazing.
“It is what little kids' dreams are made of.”
Cole believes England have benefited from the appointment of an English manager in Roy Hodgson who has been able to tune into his players' wavelength.
“We are the same all over the world. You have different cultures and being at Chelsea, we have different people, who are different in the way they prepare for games and how they are,” Cole said.
“With most English lads, and you see it with this group, we are like 11 bulldogs, who always work for each other and die on the pitch for each other. So far it has worked.”
Cole reserved special praise for his England and Chelsea team-mate John Terry, who has managed to put his off-field troubles behind him this season to produce match-winning performances for club and country.
“Whatever has gone on in his life, he has put to the back of his mind and done his job in a great professional way,” Cole said.
“He is someone who would put his body on the line for any team and any player he plays with. He is a joy to play with.” – Sapa-AFP