100 capsThe wearing of the England captains armband is always an honour and a solemn responsibility, of course, but for a moment today it looked in danger of becoming a trick question in a pub quiz. Three Lions boss Roy Hodgson cleared it up in the end: Ashley Cole will skipper England against the Republic of Ireland tomorrow night. All night. Originally Hodgson had appeared
to suggest that Cole would LEAD OUT the England team, but then the captaincy would somehow shift back to his Chelsea pal Frank Lampard for the game itself. Speaking to SkySports Hodgson had said: Franks always been the captain in Steves [Gerrard] absence. I appointed him when I started over a year ago. But in actual fact t
omorrow, Frank and I have discussed this and Franks happy for Ashley to lead the team onto the field in celebration of his 100th cap, which hell receive tomorrow. Its actually his 102nd appearance,” offered the venerable England gaffer, in case anyone thought hed lost count. “Frank and I are happy that he will lead the team out there but Frank still remains the captain of the team. That seemed to leave open the possibility of some sort of unseemly skipper shuffle during the anthems, with the twanging of the armband across the hallowed Wembley turf. But Hodgson later clarified the position and confirmed that Cole would be the captain for the duration of the match. Can you smell it? SMELL IT! Daniel Sturridge getting Roy Hodgsons famous Its the musky whiff of opportunity speech (Image: Michael Regan - The FA) Its looking like Liverpools Daniel Sturridge will get a go in an unfamiliar role too, with Hodgson set to give t
he former Chelsea man a first England start, along with other team changes. And the England boss restated his hope that fans would refrain from political chanting during the match, with the violence that led to the abandonment of the last fixture between the nations fresh in everyones mind. Hodgson, who sent an open letter to fans this week calling for civilised behaviour, added: It almost goes without saying that you want fans to respect the opposition and Im hoping that [happens], because tomorrow night is such an important part of our Jubilee year and I hope our fans are going to come there and cheer us to a victory. Shame: England fans at Lansdowne Road, Dublin in 1995 (Image: Getty) I was very happy to send out
the letter to try and make sure that the game is played in the right spirit as I know it will be on the field. I hope the fans, and the Irish fans, show the level of respect that we would expect for a game of this
type. Im looking forward to it very much. Not onl
y have the Republic of Ireland got a fantastic record, but theyve reached major tournaments and have shown theyre a difficult team for any opponent. I think its very fitting that we now play one of the other home nations and in Ireland we know were going into the kind of quality game that will help us prepare for our important games in October. A further clarification from the England Owl, regarding possible misinterpretations of his reference to Ire
lands status as a home nation will perhaps be along shortly...