World Cup qualifiers: Blow for Roy Hodgson as Ashley Cole is ruled out of both England qualifiers

Injury forces England’s first-choice left-back out of Montenegro  and Poland matches

Ashley Cole will miss England’s two World Cup qualifiers against Montenegro and Poland having failed to come through a test on a long-term injured rib, the first casualty of Roy Hodgson’s squad as he begins preparations this week.

Cole was replaced in the squad on Monday by the Arsenal left-back Kieran Gibbs, who joined up with the rest of the England players at St George’s Park. However, Cole’s place in the team will be taken by Leighton Baines, left-back being arguably the position where Hodgson has the most talented options.

The problem with his rib was made worse for Cole after he aggravated the injury against Norwich City on Sunday and had to be substituted. He went for a scan on the problem and the decision was taken that it was advisable not to risk the player given what is at stake in the two games,  beginning with Montenegro on Friday and Poland four days later.

Baines, 28, who has 19 caps, has started the season strongly and offers Hodgson a great deal going forward. His chances have been limited  because of Cole’s pre-eminence. In fact, he has started just four competitive games for England, all in the current qualifying campaign, and two of those have been against San Marino.

The England squad met at St George’s Park on Monday and will train again this morning, this time in front of television cameras. Hodgson has no other injury worries and the absentee list of first-team players – Cole, Glen Johnson and Theo Walcott – is not as bad as it has been in the past for England managers.

The midfielder James Milner said that the requirement to win their final two games to win Group H and qualify for Brazil 2014 was a situation the team would have accepted at the start of the campaign. “We’ve put ourselves in a great position,” Milner said. “If we’d been offered the chance of winning our last two home games to qualify at the start of the campaign, we’d have taken it.

“I’ve been lucky enough to play in a European Championship and a World Cup so it would be great to add another tournament to that list. Playing against Brazil last summer you could see what a great tournament it will be by the atmosphere. The Brazilians eat, breathe and sleep football so it’s a World Cup that no one wants to miss.”

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate