Ashley Cole confirmed his retirement from international football on Sunday night after Roy Hodgson, the England manager, handed teenager Luke Shaw a ticket to the World Cup .
Hodgson told Cole over the telephone that he had not made the 23-man squad and the Chelsea left-back, 33, responded by rejecting the chance to be placed among the seven standby players.
Cole instead decided it is time for him to retire from international football on 107 caps and dealt a setback to Hodgson, who formally announces his 23-man squad plus seven standby players on Monday.
After the news of his omission on Sunday night, Cole said on his official Twitter account: “I got the call from Roy and agree England team should be about the young players. I think it best I retire from England team now. We have a great manager and team and I wish them only success. I will be supporting them like a true fan. Thanks to everyone for everything.”
Hodgson said: “The most important factor was speaking to Ashley prior to the announcement on Monday, he deserved to hear it directly from me and he took the news with huge grace.
“In two years working with him he has shown nothing but relentless professionalism, and a great hunger to play for England. He is someone I have the utmost respect for and I wished him all the best, he in turn wished the team well this summer.
“Of course I must respect his decision to retire, he has been one of England’s finest players, but I want to look to the future. It has been one of the hardest decisions of my career.”
Hodgson was at St Mary’s to watch Southampton draw with Manchester United and the 18-year-old Shaw played 80 minutes before being substituted to protect his fitness.
Shaw’s day was made even better by the fact that United submitted a £27 million bid for the Southampton left-back just hours after the final whistle.
Cole’s retirement opened up a standby spot for Liverpool’s 21-year-old full-back Jon Flanagan, who has operated on the left and the right this season. West Ham United’s Andy Carroll was due to be told he had made the standby list, but Hodgson could not contact the striker on Sunday night after he boarded a flight to Dubai.
Hodgson appears to have gone for youth for Brazil, with 20-year-old Ross Barkley, 22-year-old Jack Wilshere, 20-year-old Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and 19-year-old Raheem Sterling all poised to join Shaw in the England squad.
Everton rested Barkley and 19-year-old defender John Stones, who is poised to be named on the standby list, for the 2-0 victory against Hull City. Roberto Martínez, the Everton manager, denied any inside knowledge of Hodgson’s plans.
Martínez said: “Ross and John will be busy boys in the summer because there is a chance they will represent the senior team and, if not, will be in the Under-21s. It’s the reason I have to look after them.
“The truth is I don’t know if they will be in the World Cup. Any manager you ask will say his players should be in it, but I won’t go down that road. I trust Roy Hodgson and I am a big admirer of his experience. Whatever the national team manager decides, we are happy to help.”
Wilshere made his first appearance since the midfielder broke his foot in England’s friendly against Denmark on March 5 as a second-half substitute in Arsenal’s victory against Norwich City on Sunday.
Wilshere came through the final 27 minutes and Arsène Wenger, the Arsenal manager, expected him to be named in Hodgson’s 23-man squad.
“The World Cup is in one month, so there is plenty of time,” Wenger said. “It just shows there is no problem for Jack to be available.”
Oxlade-Chamberlain was not part of Arsenal’s squad for the final Premier League game of the season, as he continues his recovery from a groin injury, and faces a race to feature in the FA Cup final.
He will start training with the rest of the Arsenal squad on Wednesday and will be expected to prove his fitness for England at the Portugal training camp, for which Hodgson’s men depart on May 19.
On Oxlade-Chamberlain, Wenger said: “He should be reintegrating our squad for normal training. He will be available for Roy to pick and I will not be surprised if he is. If players like Alex are not overplayed, they can absorb the competition.
“The only worry is if he is not medically fit, but I trust the England team. They have the first camp in Portugal and they will know after that.”
There was no Phil Jones in the United squad at Southampton after the defender suffered damaged ligaments to his shoulder last week, but there is optimism he can make a full recovery in time for the World Cup.
England’s medical team have kept close contact with United’s doctors and the Old Trafford club are understood to be happy for Jones to be named in Hodgson’s squad.
Hodgson’s decision to name a largely young squad looks to be bad news for United midfielder Michael Carrick, who was a second-half substitute against Southampton.
Ray Lewington, Hodgson’s assistant, visited White Hart Lane for Tottenham Hotspur’s victory against Aston Villa, but right-back Kyle Walker had not recovered from a pelvic injury in time to train or play. Spurs sources insisted it would be practically impossible for the 23-year-old to be called up.
With Joe Hart his No 1 and Ben Foster No 2, Hodgson’s only decision over his goalkeepers rested on who will travel as England’s third choice. Celtic’s Fraser Forster won that battle, ahead of the Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy.