Updates from Friday, April 4
Ashley Cole is fit to return to the Chelsea fold for Stoke's weekend visit to Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea's official Twitter confirmed:
Mourinho reports that Cole is back in the squad but Mikel and Eto'o are out of Stoke game due to injury. #CFC— Chelsea FC (@chelseafc) April 4, 2014
Updates from Friday, March 28
Ashley Cole will not be fit to return to the Chelsea matchday squad for their trip to Crystal Palace.
The Blues' official Twitter passed down the news:
Mourinho reports that Ashley Cole and Samuel Eto'o are injured and won't feature tomorrow. #CFC— Chelsea FC (@chelseafc) March 28, 2014
Chelsea and England national team defender Ashley Cole was injured during training on Thursday and will be forced to miss the Blues' match with Tottenham.
Manager Jose Mourinho didn't provide any further information about the ailment or how long it could keep Cole sidelined. All that's known is that he won't play in the key Premier League fixture, as noted by the club:
Who is the better option for England?
Cole has only appeared in 13 league matches for Chelsea this season. He hasn't started a match for the Blues since an FA Cup encounter with Stoke City in late January. The last time he played at the Premier League level was on Jan. 11 against Hull City.
Jose: 'Ashley Cole got an injury in training yesterday and is out of the game tomorrow.' #CFC— Chelsea FC (@chelseafc) March 7, 2014
The lack of playing time was already starting to become an issue for Cole in terms of the England squad for the World Cup. Southampton left-back Luke Shaw is pushing hard for a trip to Brazil, and Cole isn't getting many chances to prove he deserves the spot.
Barney Ronay of The Guardian broke down the choice facing head coach Roy Hodgson after the national team's win over Denmark on Wednesday:
The main selection issue at Wembley was the question of who should travel to Brazil as England's likely reserve left-back: Ashley Cole or the tyro Luke Shaw, who made his debut here in the second half. It is on the face of it a fairly minor sub-plot, albeit one given some lustre by Cole's status as one of England's celebrified 100-cap greats of the largely disappointing decade just past.
Now that Cole is dealing with some type of injury, his status becomes even murkier. He needs to take advantage of every opportunity during the final few months of the campaign to impress Hodgson, and it's impossible to do that while hurt.
More information about his status should become available in the near future, which should provide a clearer picture of when he'll be available for selection again. Chelsea's next scheduled match after Tottenham is against Aston Villa next weekend.
All told, Cole must work hard to achieve full fitness as soon as possible with hopes of drawing some starts for the Blues in the near future. Otherwise, the advantage shifts to Shaw in the national team race.