Chelsea star suffers ankle blow

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Chelsea left-back Ashley Cole will miss England's opening World Cup 2014 qualifier against Moldova with an ankle injury picked up in Friday night's 4-1 European Super Cup defeat to Atletico Madrid.

The 31-year-old defender, who was rested by Three Lions boss Roy Hodgson for last month's international friendly against Italy, would have won his 100th cap in next Friday's clash against Ukraine at Wembley, in the second of two upcoming qualifiers.

Cole was assessed by England's medical staff at the club's training ground on Monday morning before a decision was reached. A statement on the Football Association's website read: "After reporting to the England hotel on Monday morning, Ashley Cole has returned to Chelsea for further treatment.

"Cole has a minor ankle concern and will be treated by his club this week, before being assessed by the England Medical staff on Sunday to see if he is available for the FIFA World Cup qualifier with Ukraine, on Tuesday 11 September."

The news marks the latest injury setback during the forthcoming international break, after Andy Carroll was forced to withdraw from the England squad, following the hamstring problem picked up on his West Ham debut, a 3-0 victory over Fulham on Saturday.

Hodgson does have considerable cover at left-back though, with Leighton Baines and Ryan Bertrand in reserve, but the Three Lions boss has chosen not to call-up another striker to replace crocked Carroll, making do with Jermain Defoe, Danny Welbeck and Daniel Sturridge.

Ashley Cole
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