Glen Johnson says Ashley Cole does not always get the credit he deserves ahead of winning his 100th cap in England's friendly with Brazil at Wembley.
Cole, who made his international debut 11 years ago, will become the seventh England player to reach three figures on Wednesday, following in the footsteps of Steven Gerrard.
But despite the 31-year-old coming under criticism from England fans throughout his career, Johnson has hailed the Chelsea left-back's qualities both on and off the pitch.
"The 100 caps is fantastic for Ashley and, for me, no-one deserves it more," said Johnson.
"As a player he's been a proper pro for many years in the Premier League and done some great things in the game.
"It was great to see Stevie do it not so long ago and Ash has been in the set-up for many years and thoroughly deserves it. He has been a key member of any team he has been involved with season after season.
"Does he get the credit he deserves? Not at times, no. He's been in the set-up for such a long time, he's been a key player and consistent for many years.
"I certainly don't feel he deserves some of the stick he sometimes gets. He is very important for England. He started his 99 caps. If that doesn't tell a story I don't know what does."
Johnson added: "Off the pitch he is one of the nicest guys you are going to meet. He is down to earth, up for a laugh and one of the lads, a top bloke."