​Former Chelsea and Arsenal defender Ashley Cole has confirmed his retirement from playing football, with the iconic left-back set to focus on becoming a coach.

The 38-year-old was without a club after leaving Derby County earlier this summer, and had previously hinted that he was thinking about retiring in the near future.

Ashley Cole

He has now confirmed that decision, revealing during Sky Sports' coverage of ​Chelsea's meeting with ​Leicester City on Sunday that he has already begun training to become a coach further down the line.

He said: “After hard thinking and consideration it was obviously time to hang by boots up and look towards my chapter, which will hopefully be coaching. I’m doing a course at the moment so now I want to be great as being a coach.

“[My career has been] incredible to be honest. As a young kind I never expected to play one game or be a professional.

Ashley Cole

“Looking back now to be able to say I played in World Cups, Champions League finals, be lucky enough to lift ​Premier League titles, is a young kids dream. I fulfilled my dream and now I look for the future as hopefully to be a great coach.”

The decision brings an end to his 20-year career as a senior footballer, which has seen him turn out for ​Arsenal​Chelsea, Roma, LA Galaxy and ​Derby.

He made his debut with the Gunners in a League Cup tie with ​Middlesbrough in November 1999, and went on to lift two Premier League titles and three FA Cups during his time with his boyhood club.

Ashley Cole

He controversially went on to join Chelsea in 2006, where he added plenty more silverware to his already huge trophy cabinet. During his time at Stamford Bridge, Cole managed to win both the ​Champions League and Europa League, before departing in the summer of 2014.

Spells with Roma and LA Galaxy followed, before Cole returned to English football to work under former teammate Frank Lampard at Derby. He helped the Rams to the ​Championship play-offs but, after being released this summer, has now called time on his legendary career.