Ashley Cole (born December 20, 1980 in Stepney, London) is an
association football player. He is a defender, who nearly always
plays at left-back. He currently plays for Arsenal and the
English national team.
Cole is known for his substantial pace, which is often used to
great effect in supporting and overlapping the left-winger in
front of him. Critics have said his attacking talents conceal
defensive weaknesses, though Cole's rapid ascension into the
Arsenal and England teams at a young age demonstrates that the
teams' respective managers have confidence in his abilities.
Cole has been at Arsenal since he was a teenager, and signed as
a professional on February 25, 2000. He made his debut for the
first team on November 30, 1999 against Middlesbrough at the age
of 18, although this was his only appearance of that season.
Before fully breaking into the Arsenal side, he spent three
months on loan at Crystal Palace in 2000. After an injury to
Silvinho, Arsenal's established Brazilian left-back, in autumn
2000, Cole came in as his replacement, and remained first-choice
even after Silvinho's recovery.
With Arsenal, he has won the Premiership twice (in 2002 and
2004), and the FA Cup twice (in 2002 and 2003).
Cole made his England debut against Albania, on March 28, 2001.
As of January 2005, he has played for England 38 times, though
he has never scored for the national side. He was also named as
one of four England players in the Euro 2004 all-star squad.