Chelsea defender ruled out of key England clash with rib complaint

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Ashley Cole has been ruled out of England's World Cup qualifier against Montenegro through injury.

The Chelsea defender picked up a a rib injury in the 3-1 win over Norwich on Sunday and has now been ruled out of the key Group H clash at Wembley. Arsenal's Kieran Gibbs has been called up as his replacement.

A statement on the FA's official website read: "Roy Hodgson's England squad came together at St. George's Park on Monday at the start of a huge few days in their World Cup adventure.

"However, after naming a 23-man group for their games against Montenegro and Poland last Thursday, only Chelsea defender Ashley Cole didn't report and has withdrawn from the squad due to injury.

"Cole will be unavailable for the meeting with Montenegro at Wembley on Friday, remaining with his club for further treatment.

"Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs has been added to Hodgson's squad.

Cole was substituted during Chelsea's visit to Norwich with 15 minutes of the game remaining clutching his chest.

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho said afterwards: "He is having this little problem for quite a while," said Mourinho in the wake of the 3-1 victory in East Anglia.

"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, a tactical decision, but I realise the situation before was difficult for his condition.

"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 OK.

"I want England to do well, and I will be there at Wembley on Friday [against Montenegro] to push, as I would love England to go to the World Cup.

England face two crucial qualifiers that will decide their World Cup fate, with Poland to come after the game against Montenegro on Friday.

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Kieran Gibbs
England Football
Ashley Cole

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