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‘Why am I gonna try to give my all to help a country that didn’t care?’: Ashley Cole says

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‘Why am I gonna try to give my all to help a country that didn’t care?’: Ashley Cole says

Ashley Cole feels that Raheem Sterling is being targeted for abuse while on England duty because of his skin colour.

Speaking in ITV’s new documentary Out Of Their Skin, which charts the last 40 years of black players in the national team and airs on ITV4 at 10pm this Tuesday and Wednesday, Cole also revealed how the booing he received during an England game in 2008 made him want to quit internationals because he felt his country ‘didn’t care’ about him.

But he suggested there is a ‘different agenda’ with Sterling, saying the only reason he sees Sterling might be targeted is his skin colour. Recalling a World Cup ­qualifier against ­Kazakhstan in 2008, during which he was repeatedly booed despite England winning 5-1, Cole revealed that the abuse from fans made him want to quit the national team.

‘I was like, “Woah, is that really for me? For giving the ball away?”,’ he said. ‘At the time I thought, “I’m done”. Why am I gonna try to give my all to help a country that didn’t care? For me, it wasn’t football. That’s why I wanted to stop.’

Cole, now 37 and playing at left back for LA Galaxy, became an unpopular figure for many football fans following his controversial move to Chelsea from Arsenal in 2006, after which he revealed that he almost ‘swerved off the road’ when he heard about a £55,000-a-week contract offer from the Gunners, which he saw as ‘taking the p***’. He also had a high-profile marriage to pop star Cheryl, which ended in 2010.

He told ITV: ‘When I left Arsenal, that whole situation, I got the name of “Cashley”. And of course with the stuff off the field, in my private life. I was their guy at the time.’

But Cole says the booing Sterling receives is due to a different reason.

‘I don’t see it going on with anyone else apart [from] with Raheem. There’s a different agenda to that I feel.

‘There’s nothing else left apart from his colour. His skin colour.’Cole says being booed made him want to quit England – thankfully he didn’t and went on to win 107 caps, retiring from internationals in 2014 as the first black player to reach a century for the Three Lions.

Cole also expressed his great pride in playing for England, saying it was his greatest honour and that he misses it ‘every day’. He also hopes he will be an inspiration for others to follow.

‘I’ve not just played for England,’ he said. ‘I’ve done it for all the black players out there – to prove that they can do it.

‘I’ve played 100 caps for England, for my country. Being the first black player, I think, is amazing. I’ve ­represented my country and played in major tournaments. I’ve never let the country down in terms of playing. One hundred caps is No 1, playing for your country. I miss it to this day.’

Daily Mail





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