England could be without Ashley Cole for their crucial World Cup qualifiers against Montenegro and Poland, with the 32 year-old forced to undergo a scan on his ribs, according to the Guardian
The left back was withdrawn after 75 minutes of Chelsea 3-1 win over Norwich on Sunday, complaining of pain in the left side of his ribs.
Chelsea's medical staff have decided to give him a scan to uncover the extent of the injury, and determine whether he can join up with the England squad ahead of their game against Montenegro on Friday.
It will be an anxious wait for boss Roy Hodgson, who gave Cole his 105th cap in their last game with Ukraine and needs victory in both their upcoming games to guarantee his side's slot at the 2014 World Cup.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho admitted Cole has been suffering with the problem for a while but was hopeful his defender would be fit for international duty.
He said after the Blues' win at Carrow Road: "He was feeling it hard in the ribs but I didn't change him because of that, I changed him to have an option in the game.
"He is having this little problem for quite a while.
"It is my concern because I want England to do well and my players to play for their national team.
"But we need to assess the injury.
"Hopefully he will be fine but he'll go for a scan on his ribs when we arrive home, and I hope he is okay," he added.
Ashley Cole has been as consistent as ever during the start of this season and, despite his advancing age, remains England's first choice left-back, as he has been since 2001.
He is joint with national skipper Steven Gerrard as the highest active appearance holder for his country, and will overtake Billy Wright's 105 caps and level with Bobby Charlton should he feature in both the qualifying fixtures.
Leighton Baines will be the obvious choice to replace Cole in the side should injury rule him out, but Hodgson will be desperate for the Chelsea star's experience in defence.
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