Carlo Ancelotti insists Ashley Cole will be fit enough for England after confirming the injured left-back intends to make his first-team return against Stoke later this month.
England coach Fabio Capello had warned Cole he would only pick him if he proved his fitness between now and the end of the season. The Chelsea left-back has been sidelined since February after breaking his ankle against Everton but Ancelotti says the player has enough time to prove his fitness.
"Ashley Cole is closer to playing," said Ancelotti. "I think he will need some days to train and we hope he is available for the game against Stoke on April 25."
The former AC Milan boss added: "Ashley is an important player for England and after the season they still have a month to get ready, so he will be ready for sure, but I have not spoken to Capello."
Cole's return will give him three league games and the FA Cup final, should the Blues beat Aston Villa in this weekend's semi-final, to prove he is worth a place in Capello's squad.
The 29-year-old's rehabilitation has gone extremely well and the Chelsea medical staff are happy with his progress.
Ancelotti's comments came after Capello had told Four Four Two magazine: "I know not all the players will be in the same shape. Some will have played the whole season, some will have played only half the season.
"If, for example, Ashley Cole is only half-fit, that's not enough. He needs to play too. After three months of being injured he will need games."
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