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Joe Cole tells under-fire England defender John Stones to keep playing out

JOE COLE has backed John Stones to become an England hero despite his high-profile errors against Holland and admits he would give anything to play for his country one more time.

The former Chelsea midfielder last pulled on a Three Lions jersey in 2010 and hung up his boots last year after a spell in America. He has since been coaching part-time with the Blues’ age-group sides. Cole, who still watches every England game and remains passionate about his country, had sympathy for Stones after he gave away the ball for the two Dutch goals in extra-time that sealed a 3-1 win in last week’s Nations League semi-final.

Cole, 37, believes Gareth Southgate’s side are right to persevere with playing out from the back, telling Metro: ‘England were just lumping it before, which clearly doesn’t work, and people are getting on the players’ backs but we have to accept there will be hiccups and mistakes.

‘We’re not all about stopping other teams now and 100 per cent it is the right thing to do. It was Stones’ first start for a long time and he made errors but you don’t want to take [playing from the back] from his game.

‘With Vincent Kompany leaving Man City, this will be a massive year for him and he can become the main man for club and country. He’s come in for stick but England need a platform to play — great teams can hold possession.

‘There are always one or two players who bear the brunt of the criticism but he’s a strong lad and he’ll come back.’

Cole does not want scapegoats made if Southgate’s tactics back-fire, insisting England are finally playing good football. ‘We can’t keep saying we didn’t get the best out of players like Glenn Hoddle or Paul Scholes, and so on, in this country,’ he added.

‘We have the right manager and are going in the right direction. I’d love to have played in this team. I’d give it all to be back playing for England. It’s a dream to be involved in the future in some way. I still have plenty to offer.’

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