Kieran Gibbs challenging Ashley Cole for England left-back spot looks at the chances of Arsenal's Kieran Gibb's dislodging Ashley Cole at left-back for England

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kieran gibbs
Kieran GIbbs has made 17 appearances for Arsenal this term Photo: The Sport Review

kieran gibbs

Cole or Gibbs for England this summer?

Who is England’s first choice left-back and who will start in the opening game of the European Championships against France?

For a long period of time it was obviously Chelsea’s Ashley Cole – he has, of course, got 93 caps to his name and is England’s record full-back appearance holder after eclipsing the previous record held by Kenny Sansom.

But the veteran defender has seen his star fade of late for both club and country, while young pretenders like Arsenal’s Kieran Gibbs seem to have finally found some end-of-season form.

Before Christmas, Cole remained the obvious favourite for the left-back berth but just three months down the line and it’s not so certain now.

Since his move to Chelsea, the 31-year-old has quickly become one of the Premier League’s least favourite figures but you can’t argue with pedigree, class or statistics – he’s simply an England great.

However, Gibbs has been in inspired form for Arsenal since returning from long-term injury and if he can keep himself in one piece and the Gunners can continue their good end-of-season run, it’s not inconceivable to think Cole could be ousted for England.

Cole was controversially left out as Chelsea lost in Napoli in the Champions League but since the arrival of interim boss Roberto Di Matteo – the former Arsenal man is back in favour at Stamford Bridge.

What Gibbs lacks his positional play, the 22-year-old makes up for going forward – and he’s going to be a carbon copy of Cole for club and country.

It would probably be safer to opt for Cole – but it’s going to be a tough call indeed.

Gibbs is not scarred by previous major championship disappointments, while Cole has been there and done it and perennially suffered on the international stage.

Other candidates include Stephen Warnock and Leighton Baines – but neither are in the same class as Gibbs or Cole.

It’s a tough call for the new international boss – will he opt for 93-cap Cole or will he go for Gibbs – a man who has played less than 75 times for Arsenal?

Suárez joins the list of misfiring Liverpool strikers

What is happening with Liverpool’s strikers? First it was Fernando Torres and now it’s looking like Luis Suárez has lost all confidence in front of goal.

The Uruguayan only has seven league strikes this season and with the goal at his mercy against Newcastle United last Sunday, he failed to improve his record in front of goal.

He started his Reds career off in superb style but has since followed strike partner Andy Carroll and delivered a string of sub-par performances with far too few goals.

He is still showing glimpses of his talent to create chances for himself, however the final ingredient is missing of late.

Carroll made the big money switch from the Toon in January 2011 after scoring for fun and getting into the national team, but has looked a shadow of the man who was such a hot property with Newcastle.

Liverpool will likely move for another high profile striker in the summer, but whoever they target might be wary of succumbing to the Anfield hoodoo and think twice about joining.

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