Andy Carroll has already joined Wayne Rooney on England’s injured list, and now Chelsea left back Ashley Cole has also been made unavailable for his country’s opening FIFA World Cup 2014 qualifying match against Moldova in Chisinau this Friday. The injury has been described as a “minor ankle concern” and will be treated at Chelsea this week.
Unlike Carroll and Rooney, Cole will then be assessed in order to establish his readiness for the second qualifier in the September double-header, at Wembley against Ukraine next Tuesday evening. It would be his 99th cap, so you can bet that he was hoping to become only England’s sixth centurion by the middle of next week. Only Billy Wright, Bobby Moore, Peter Shilton, Bobby Charlton and David Beckham have reached the 100-cap mark for England.
But it won’t happen this time around for Cole, and suddenly Roy Hodgson’s decision to include both Everton’s Leighton Baines and Cole’s Chelsea colleague Ryan Bertrand – along with sometime Liverpool left back Glen Johnson – doesn’t seem so wasteful. Baines is in strong form for Everton so far this season and will undoubtedly get the nod.
Cole’s next opportunity to reach 100 caps isn’t too far away. If he plays against Ukraine he could reach the threshold when England play San Marino on October 12th; if not, San Marino followed by Poland the following Tuesday will see him across the line.
A sixth centurion is but a month and a half away.
(Photo credit: p_a_h via Flickr)