Cole has never operated in the position he thought had been earmarked for him â€” in the â€˜holeâ€™ behind Fernando Torres â€” but Hodgson believes that is a flimsy excuse for the 29-year-oldâ€™s failure to produce.
Hodgson played his part in negotiations when he took over from Rafa Benitez on July 1 but he said: "In that first conversation with Joe â€” and I hope he remembers this â€” I made it clear I could not offer him a certain position. I made it very clear that Steven was staying. If it was one spot he wanted, it was going to be very tough.
"I would be sad to hear him say he could only play in one position. He would be suggesting he canâ€™t do what he has done so often for England and Chelsea, which is playing in different positions."