Longtime England national team mainstay Ashley Cole will be unavailable for Friday's World Cup Qualifier against Montenegro at Wembley Stadium. According to TheFA.com, the seasoned defender will stay out of the action as he recovers from an injury.
Dominic Fifeld of The Guardian reported that Cole was set to be examined for a rib injury that he suffered in a victory for his club team, Chelsea, on Sunday against Norwich City.
Cole, whose 105 all-time caps for England are the most of any full-back, will be replaced on the roster by Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs, via ESPNFC:
BREAKING: Ashley Cole has been ruled out of England's World Cup qualifier with Montenegro. #AFC defender Kieran Gibbs has been called up— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) October 7, 2013
Gibbs has just two international caps with England's senior team, including a 2010 contest against Hungary when he entered as a half-time replacement for Cole. But Gibbs isn't expected to start for England coach Roy Hodgson.
According to his club's Twitter account, Everton's Leighton Baines is expected to make the start:
Even at his age of 32, Cole remains England's first choice at left-back. But the 24-year-old Gibbs has opened some eyes this year, including Cole's, according to John Cross of the Mirror.
England figure to be the heavy favorite against Montenegro in one of 30 World Cup Qualifiers scheduled to take place around the globe on Friday. England (16 points) currently sit atop Group H of the World Cup Qualifier field, which will take 13 teams from Europe for the 2014 tournament in Brazil.
Montenegro, meanwhile, are tied for second in Group H with Ukraine with 15 points.