Dont´t put your money on Ashley Cole being married or a Chelsea player next season.

Just days after Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich tried to draw a line under the off field scandals that have dogged two of his star players at the club, reportedly telling the squad that he expected far better standards of behaviour from Chelsea players and that any further misdemeanors in the press would be dealt with, ultimately, by the player being forced out of the club, it seems England left back Ashley Cole is already set to test the Russian Billionaire’s patience after it was revealed in a British newspaper at the weekend that Cole had smuggled girls into the team hotel on the eve of a match, twice.

Worse still for Cole, there were new claims at the weekend that the left back, who is married to Girls Aloud star Cheryl Cole, enjoyed a “romp” with Seattle based Ann Corbitt during Chelsea’s pre-season trip to the United States in 2009. At the time Cole is believed to have lied to Chelsea’s head of communications, Steve Atkins, stating that the story in the press was untrue. However Abramovich and the Chelsea board are unlikely to be too happy after hearing that Cole lied to senior club officials in an attempt to keep the details from appearing in the newspapers.

Since the story broke, Cheryl has been seen out in America without her wedding ring and there are, so far unsubstantiated, rumours that she has ended their marriage via text message.

The previous conduct of Cole and also that of club captain John Terry, forced Abramovich to send Chief Executive Ron Gourlay and manager Carlo Ancelotti into a showdown meeting with all the players last week, manager Ancelotti explaining.

“It was the owner’s idea and we have had a meeting with all the players this week, explaining to them behaviour that is expected here.”

“Now everhone knows what they have to do to protect the image of this club.”

Barely days later the news broke that Cole had smuggled secretary Vicki Gough into his hotel room before away games with West Bromwich Albion and Hull City last season, an act in clear breach of the clubs code of conduct which states that all visitors are banned from the team hotel. This combined with the fact Cole has once again tarnished the clubs image, as well as lying to a senior club official previously means that the defender, currently out injured for three months with a fractured ankle, will be brought to task by Abramovich this week.

It is thought that Cole may well be fined two weeks wages (£200,000) for his latest transgressions, although some are speculating that Abramovich has, like Cheryl, grown tired of Cole’s continual appearances on the front page of the papers for his misdemeanors and may well be ready to sell the player in the summer. Although manager Carlo Ancelotti is believed to be ready to try and persuade the Russian to hang on to the player that he rates as the best left back in the world.

Given the intense scrutiny on his private life in England, Cole is believed to prefer a move to Spain, with both Real Madrid and Barcelona reportedly ready to stump up the £25m Chelsea would want for the defender.

And just as many betting sites online made the news yesterday by paying out on the Cole’s seeking a divorce, they may well be paying out once again in the summer if Ancelotti cannot plead his case to keep Cole well enough and the player makes his often rumoured move to Spanish football.

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Ferdinand’s back means that he isn’t

Newly appointed England captain Rio Ferdinand has been struck down with another back problem, ruling him out of Manchester United’s game last night with West Ham and the Carling Cup final with Aston Villa at the weekend.

Although there has been precious little information about Ferdinand’s fitness levels coming out of Old Trafford, there is a real worry now that Ferdinand’s back problem is a chronic issue and that he, like Ledley King with his dodgy knees, is only able to play a limited role compared to what he used to in the past.

The fact that the injury happened not in a game, but in training also adds further worry about the England captain’s long term future ahead of the crucial final third of the season. With Sir Alex Ferguson’s side already short of defenders, though Nemanja Vidic made a timely return from injury in the 3-0 defeat of the Hammers last night, Ferguson’s absence for any sustained period of time would be a huge blow as United attempt to claw back the deficit they conceded to Chelsea following their 3-1 defeat at Goodison Park at the weekend.

It has been rumoured in the British press for some time that Ferdinand’s back injury was far worse than has been reported at Old Trafford. There have been unconfirmed reports, though they do seem to bear more than a semblance of truth, that Ferdinand has been regularly attending a specialist clinic to try and alleviate some of the problems he is facing with his back. Chiefly because the injury is one that is not going to improve with an operation or any form of physiotherapy. Like Ledley King, Ferdinand is rumoured to have a chronic problem, that can only be managed on a day to day, week to week basis.

This, for me, underlines the folly of making him England captain. While a fully fit, in form Ferdinand is one of the best defenders in the world and a clear choice as England captain after John Terry’s ignominious demotion, the fact is his form has been poor (for both club and country) for the past twelve months, if not more. His injury record during that period is extremely worrying and many critics feel that the passage of time, or his back problem, has contributed to him losing at least half a yard of pace, maybe more. Certainly the way a half fit Fernando Torres breezed past him at Anfield with ease to score Liverpool’s first a few months back won’t have inspired great confidence amongst the Manchester United and England faithful.

This latest injury setback for the United man has come at the worst possible time. Having been awarded the captaincy, I, like many England fans, was hoping to see the Ferdinand of old emerge from this period of injury, poor form and suspension to cement his standing as one of the best defenders in the world, find his best form and lead the country to South Africa. Now I fear that taking him to South Africa at all may well be a liability.

Let us understand something, if Fabio Capello won’t pick Michael Owen or Ledley King due to their injuries or a lack of games, or both, then how can he give Ferdinand the captaincy and a guaranteed place on the plane? To me it doesn’t make sense. Yes on his day and fully fit, Ferdinand is a fantastic player and worthy England captain. But so is Michael Owen and Michael Owen has played more times for Manchester United in the past month or so than Rio Ferdinand. Michael Owen has made 5 starts for United in the league and come on as a sub 14 times. Ferdinand has started just 6 games. Ferdinand has played 11 games this season, Owen 10 and has played 20 times as a sub and scored 8 goals. Wes Brown in comparison has played 24 times for United in total. More than double Ferdinand’s total, and what is more, I’d venture he is in better form than Ferdinand too.

This is no great calling for Steven Gerrard to be named England captain (I personally believe Gerrard will play better without that responsibility, I’d rather see it given to someone like Lampard or Rooney) but I cannot follow Capello’s logic. He stresses the importance of players playing every week, being in form, fit and strong for the finals, yet names a captain who has not done any of these things this season and who could have a chronic back injury that could flare up at any time and rule him out of the World Cup tournament completely.

As good a player as Ferdinand could be, I don’t think that is a wise risk to take.

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