Left in the lurch
Ashley Cole's injury could give England a World Cup headache. We look at those looking to replace him.
Last Updated: 12/02/10 10:34am
Ashley Cole's three-month lay-off with an ankle injury could present England manager Fabio Capello with a headache over his left-back options for the World Cup finals.
Here, skysports.com looks at some possible contenders to replace the Chelsea full-back should he fail to recover in time to play in South Africa.
Cole's long-term understudy for the number three berth, the Manchester City defender would have been the obvious candidate to step in. But the recent claims over John Terry's alleged affair with Bridge's former partner has put his relationship with the deposed captain under the spotlight, with the Chelsea man considered "one of the most important players for England" by Capello.
World Cup chances: 9/10
Uncapped Everton left-back has been tipped for a late call-up and hailed by club boss David Moyes as "our most consistent player all season". Not the quickest but a steady performer whose ability from penalties and free-kicks could give him an edge.
World Cup chances: 5/10
Former Blackburn defender, whose one cap to date came against Trinidad & Tobago in 2008, has impressed Capello with his displays for Aston Villa since joining the club last summer. Just on his way back from a shin injury, though, and naturally right-footed.
World Cup chances: 6/10
Disciplined Manchester City midfielder with a sweet left foot. Has filled in capably at left-back on occasion before but could be exposed for a lack of pace by the world's best forwards in South Africa.
World Cup chances: 10/10 - but would he really be thrown in at left-back?
Aston Villa's versatile winger could provide Capello with valuable cover for both full-back roles. Usually seen further up the flanks providing an attacking threat but adaptable enough to fit in at the back if required.
World Cup chances: 8/10 - but more likely to feature in midfield.
Commanding centre-back who has struggled for fitness since joining Manchester City from Everton last summer. Just back from a knee injury and known to prefer a central role, but could provide emergency back-up.
World Cup chances: 7/10
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