Ashley Cole aims for England’s Friendly Matches for international return

13th February 2010 | World Cup Betting category: Football World Cup News
Football World Cup News

England’s 2010 Friendly Fixture Dates have been confirmed, but all of the latest news is surroudning the injury to Chelsea full back Ashley Cole. England first choice left back Ashley Cole could be in a very tight race to make it the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals. After suffering a fractured ankle in Chelsea’s recent league defeat against Everton, Cole has undergone surgery but is likely to be out for three months. That time frame would take it to the end of the domestic season, as well as missing England’s first friendly in March against Egypt at Wembley. Cole is a vital component at the back for both club and country, as he is composed in defending, as well as pushing forward in an attacking manner. The left back is usually the most consistent performer in the squad, and it would be a serious blow to England’s World Cup chances if he cannot make it the finals which start on June 11.

This throws a fascinating twist on the whole John Terry affair which has dominated the headlines. With first choice left back Ashley Cole missing from the squad, Fabio Capello will likely turn to Manchester City’s Wayne Bridge to play there. Bridge has the experience in the England set up, but of course, he is part of the triangle in the John Terry, as Terry’s alleged affair was with Bridge’s ex-wife. Bridge and Terry were team mates at Stamford Bridge of course, and Bridge has refused to speak to the media about it all, but the rumours are that he wouldn’t be very happy sharing a dressing room with John Terry. But Bridge’s club boss Roberto Mancini has stated that if England call upon Bridge, then he will play. Terry is away in Dubai after being given time off by Chelsea to sort out his personal life.

But that is getting away from the football matters at hand, and that is the impact Cole’s absence would have on England’s progress in the World Cup. Fortunately this has happened ahead of the tournament, and there is at least a chance for Cole to return. Estimated return would put him back into action around the FA Cup final, if Chelsea, the current holders make it again to the Wembley Final. The timing also gives England boss Fabio Capello the chance to assess alternatives in the three friendly games which England have booked for 2010.

England v Egypt, March 3rd.
England v Mexico, May 24th
England v Japan, May 29th

The African Cup of Nations Champions travel to Wembley in England’s first match of 2010. This is the first of the handpicked matches by Capello, who wanted to expose his team to opponents from outside of Europe. With Algeria in their World Cup Group in South Africa, Capello, familiar with European styles, wanted a test against a strong North African side. Well, he picked the strongest, which should make for a very good test. For much the same reasons, Capello wanted to test his side and tactical prowess against a team with a little bit of South American flair, so they booked Mexico. While not in South America, the Mexican’s should provide another different style of play, which England will likely to come up against in the world cup. Mexico play on the opening night of the 2010 FIFA World Cup on June 11th, against hosts South Africa in Group A.

The final friendly against Japan completes a trio of important friendly matches for Capello, as England go into the competition as third favourites with most of the online bookmakers. Capello will wait and see on the Ashley Cole injury, and he will announce his initial 35 man squad on the 12th of May, just before the Friendly against Mexico. Capello will only then have until June 1st to submit his final squad to FIFA. That is how tight the race is for England’s first choice left back to be fit. There are other alternatives available, such as Arsenal’s Kieron Gibbs, Everton’s Leighton Baines and Aston Villa’s Stephen Warnock. Capello will be hoping for a fully fit squad to take to South Africa, with importance going on the health of Wayne Rooney, who, Capello believes is being overworked by Alex Ferguson. With United being a one-man team up front, it’s unlikely Alex Ferguson is going to give him much rest. Fans will remember how close Rooney came to missing the 2006 World Cup with a smashed metatarsal, and how David Beckham’s broken foot dominated the news in 2002.

This week, it has been announced that Northern Ireland are in discussions with England, to arrange a friendly for 2012 to announce a new era at Windsor Park. Northern Ireland should have a new 20,000 seater arena finished by then, and the IFA want England to pop over and play them to celebrate the unveiling of the new stadium. Some work is scheduled at Windsor Park during the summer, ahead of the 2012 European Championship qualifiers, but it will take a further stage to push it up to the 20,000 capacity as desired.

England are 6/1 at Bwin to Win the World Cup 2010

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