This week England manager Roy Hodgson has been busy deflecting rumours he was ready to recall in form Chelsea captain John Terry (33) back into the England fold. Amid allegations of racism towards Anton Ferdinand, Terry retired from the international side to focus on domestic football with Chelsea. However, such is his form he is still regarded as England's best center back and therefore calls have been made to reintroduce Terry back into the squad.
In an interview with BBC Sport, Hodgson had this to say: "The door isn't open because he has retired from international football. When players retire, we move on."
"We moved on after our first qualification game, when John Terry limped off, and since that time we have chosen the players who are available, who have represented us well in my opinion, so we will continue with that."
"John has retired and as far as I am concerned that is the situation. We have got along without him for the whole of the qualification and a few friendlies as well so we will have to get along without him in the future."
Following Hodgson's admitting Terry had no future with the England side, he was then pressed to answer whether Terry's Chelsea team mate, left back Ashley Cole would be a first team regular for England in the World Cup. Normally Cole is the first name on the team sheet but since last year he has been under heavy pressure from in form left back Leighton Baines. Cole has not been helped by the fact a right back has now taken his left back slot in Chelsea.
In a very frank interview Hodgson said this: "For years people have been understudy to Ashley, now it's Ashley's turn to sit back."
"It's a bit of a problem when you are a full-back - you either play or you are an understudy, we know what Ashley can do. We know how fit he keeps himself, how experienced he is."
"I certainly wouldn't write Ashley Cole out of any plans because he wasn't playing in his club team."
"But he will have to accept like everyone else that competition for his place in the club team and international team gets stronger all the time, and I will have a decision to make."
At times Hodgson has been accused of being a weak manager but this interview clearly shows he is a man that can put his foot down. Arguably, Terry and Cole are still the best England players in their positions and a weaker man would have seen the current situation and picked them as indefinite starters for the World Cup.
But to do so would be massive oversight. Cole and Terry achieved absolutely nothing for England during their peaks, what good would it do playing them now when they are long past their best?
Even more importantly, with both of them at the age of 33, the World Cup in Brazil will be their last tournament. Even if the newest generation of England players are not as good as Cole and Terry, it is better to give them a chance so they can experience football at the highest level and not be overawed when they enter their peak in another four years time due to lack of experience.
In this sense it is good Terry is not even being considered for the squad at all; now the same needs to be done with Cole. In Hodgson's interview it is implied Cole will be understudy to Baines. This role should go to Kieran Gibbs. Not only is Gibbs playing regularly for Arsenal, he has Champions League experience which means the big occasion will not phase him.
What Gibbs has not had is the opportunity to integrate with the England squad due to a spate of injuries. At the age of 24 this needs to happen sooner rather than later, otherwise it is more than likely Gibbs will always feel like an outsider, something that will negatively impact on his performances for England.
Furthermore, with Danny Rose and Luke Shaw coming through the ranks, it needs to made perfectly clear that Cole is no longer challenging for a place ahead of them. At times players are motivated and given a sense of liberation when a bigger name is out of contention; it sends a subliminal message that they have been elevated from afterthoughts, to actually having a real chance of playing in a major tournament if they better their form towards the end of the season. Adam Johnson is such a beneficiary since Theo Walcott was ruled out with a major injury.
Knowing that Cole is out of the running could and frankly should motivate the players to up their game for their clubs because they know a spot on the plane to Brazil is on the table.