Some months ago, former Arsenal and Chelsea star Ashley Cole announced his retirement from playing football. We compare the 38-year-olds with three other players to have graced the position.

Leighton Baines

Apps: 412. Goals: 32. Assists: 53. Clean sheets: 113.
Baines' 340 top-flight appearances for Everton are just 12 short of Tim Howard's club record. His 53 assists are the most among those who have only played in defence, while his 32 goals are third among defenders.
Ashley Cole
Apps: 385. Goals: 15. Assists: 31. Clean sheets: 147. Titles: 3.
Cole was a part of Arsenal's 2001/02 and 2003/04 title-winning teams before moving to Chelsea in 2006, where he won the league in 2009/10. He also triumphed in the 2012 UEFA Champions League final and won four FA Cups to add to the three he lifted with Arsenal.

Patrice Evra
Apps: 278. Goals: 7. Assists: 21. Clean sheets: 98. Titles: 5.
The Frenchman won the Premier League in each of his first three full seasons at Man Utd (2006/07, 2007/08, 2008/09), before adding a further two as well as the UEFA Champions League.
Denis Irwin
Apps: 328. Goals: 18. Assists: 25. Clean sheets: 123. Titles: 7.
The Irishman has the most Premier League winners' medals of the five contenders, with seven in his 10 PL seasons at Man Utd. He scored in each of his first eight Premier League seasons, and helped United claim the league, FA Cup and Champions League treble in 1998/99.
Graeme Le Saux
Apps: 327. Goals: 12. Assists: 44. Clean sheets: 92. Titles: 1.

Le Saux lifted the Premier League Trophy at Blackburn Rovers either side of two spells at Chelsea, whom he helped to win the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, FA Cup and EFL Cup. His 44 assists have only been beaten by Baines among those who have played solely in defence.