Cole ruled out of Poland qualifier
England left back Ashley Cole has been ruled out of Tuesday’s final World Cup qualifier against Poland after failing to recover from the rib injury which forced him to miss the win over Montenegro.
The 32-year-old Chelsea defender, who has 105 international caps, was replaced by Everton’s Leighton Baines in the 4-1 victory over Montenegro on Friday.
Baines is likely to keep his place in Roy Hodgson’s lineup against Poland, whose loss to Ukraine on Friday means they are unable to qualify.
Given his strong club form there had been calls for Baines, capped 20 times by England, to replace Cole in the starting line up before he was withdrawn, but the 28-year-old said who ever played would do a good job.
“It’s difficult to say because each week is different, sometimes you’re on top form one week and for no reason the following game you’re not quite at it,” he told reporters at a news conference on Sunday.
“I think the important thing is that the manager feels that both of us can do the job, that he can call on either one of us and I guess that’s all that matters really, that the job gets done.”
Baines was largely untroubled as England scored four second half goals against Montenegro, but despite Poland having little to play for, the match would be another step up.
“We know how big it was on Friday to keep it in our own hands really, to win the game and make sure were in a good position,” he said.
“We’ve got the job half done now, as the manager said, and we’ve got to try and finish it off. We know it will be a tough game, but we’ll be prepared for it.
“There will be a good crowd there and it’s a big occasion. It’s something that all the players at this level are accustomed to.
“It’s important we go and get the right result.”
England leads Group H by a point from Ukraine and will secure automatic qualification for next year’s finals in Brazil with a win over the Poles at Wembley.
Defender Kyle Walker will miss the match through suspension, while Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling had replaced the injured midfielder Tom Cleverly.