England great Ashley Cole announced he has retired from the game at the age of 38.
Left-back Cole is one of only nine men to have played over 100 times for the Three Lions, who he represented at the 2002, 2006 and 2010 World Cups.
The former Chelsea and Arsenal defender won three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups, as well as helping the Blues to win the 2011-12 Champions League.
He moved to MLS side LA Galaxy in 2016 after a brief spell with Roma before returning to England earlier this year to play under former Chelsea and England team-mate Frank Lampard at Derby County.
The Rams did not give Cole a new deal after missing out on promotion to the Premier League and he will now pursue a coaching career having played his final match at Wembley in May’s play-off final loss to Aston Villa.
“After hard thinking and consideration, it’s time to hang my boots up and think towards my next chapter, which will hopefully be coaching,” Cole told Sky Sports. “I’m doing the course at the moment. Now I want to be great at being a coach.
“As a young kid, I never expected to play one game or to be a professional. So, to be looking back now and to be able to say I played in World Cups and Champions League finals, being lucky enough to lift Premier League titles… it’s a young kid’s dream. I’ve fulfilled my dream.”
Cole was part of the so-called ‘Golden Generation’ of England talents in the 2000s but that team, featuring stars including David Beckham, Steven Gerrard, Michael Owen, John Terry and Lampard, failed to win a major international tournament.
Asked about what made him most proud, Cole said: “The England caps. I probably didn’t grasp it as much as I should. I look back now and I’ve played for my country not just once but over 100 times.
“I’m proud of that and it’s just a little bit disappointing I didn’t get to a final or even a semi-final with England. It’s a little bit disappointing.”