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Thursday 17 April 2014

Cole misses Montenegro match

Ashley Cole has a rib injury

Ashley Cole will miss Friday's World Cup qualifier with Montenegro at Wembley, the Football Association has confirmed.

Cole complained of a rib problem during Chelsea's Barclays Premier League victory at Norwich on Sunday and went for a scan on Monday morning which has confirmed the full-back will not be able to play in the first match of England's double header at Wembley on Friday.

Whilst the left-back could be available for the following Tuesday's game against Poland, it does seem unlikely the veteran will be involved.

Arsenal's Kieran Gibbs has been added to Roy Hodgson's squad, whilst Everton's Leighton Baines is set to start.

Whilst the injury itself is not a complete disaster with Baines in outstanding form, which brought interest from Manchester United this summer, it does add a complication Hodgson could have done without ahead of such a massive week.

England might qualify with four points, but to be certain of reaching next summer's Finals in Brazil they need to beat Montenegro and Poland.

They must do so without a recognised wide man due to injuries to Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, plus Ashley Young's loss of form.

There is also the small matter of Harry Redknapp's autobiography, and his controversial comments about Hodgson and the FA.

Redknapp was considered to be the clear favourite to take the England job when Fabio Capello resigned last year, but the FA opted to approach Roy Hodgson, then in charge at West Brom.

Redknapp maintains he holds no grudge against Hodgson, but in his new autobiography, serialised in the Daily Mail, he said: "I wouldn't trust the FA to show me a good manager if their lives depended on it.

"How would they know? What clubs have they ever run? Who do they speak to who really knows the game?

"This isn't about them giving the England job to me or Roy Hodgson, but English football being run by people who really haven't got a clue. And they get to pick the England manager!

"Everyone said I was the people's choice, the only choice. All the senior players seemed to be up for me to get the job. I got quite a few text messages at the time from players saying they would love me to manage England: Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand, John Terry.

"But the FA went for Roy Hodgson to be the England manager - a man who is more their cup of tea."

While Redknapp was expected to leave Tottenham for England, he ended up leaving them without a job at all as Spurs chairman Daniel Levy parted company with him that summer.

The 66-year-old continued: "If I had become the England manager I would have taken Brendan Rodgers as my number two.

"My thinking on Brendan was this: if he can do it with players from the lower leagues at Swansea what can he do with Rio and Terry or Rooney and Gerrard?

"So when Tottenham played Swansea on April 1, 2012 I pulled Brendan after the game and said that if all the speculation about me and England was true would he consider coming to the European Championships in the summer as my part-time coach?

"I told him I wanted England to play with as much technical ambition as Swansea. He was up for it.

"Some Tottenham fans might think I was distracted from my club job, but I can assure you the conversation took five minutes. And we beat Swansea 3-1 that day, by the way.

"It didn't work out. On April 1, I was contemplating the way forward for England with Brendan Rodgers - and on April 29 the FA offered the job to Roy Hodgson.

"I'll admit, I thought it was mine. Everyone seemed so certain, everyone I had met from all parts of the game seemed utterly convinced it was my job."

Redknapp believes the issue of compensation to Tottenham remains one of the reasons why he was never asked.

"I'm sure the FA would deny they were interested in me anyway, they always like to say they got their number one choice, but maybe what helped make their minds up was the thought of writing a cheque in the region of £16million to Levy.

"He is known for driving a hard bargain at the best of times; get Daniel on a bad day and I would have ended up more expensive than Capello - and the FA were already getting a lot of criticism over his £6million-a-year salary.

"Of all the reasons doing the rounds for me not becoming England manager, the compensation issue makes most sense."

The FA opted not to respond today, although Hodgson is likely to do so on Thursday - when he is due to address the media in his pre-match press conference.

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