Updated: 04/09/2012 20:48 | By pa.press.net

Baines poised for England start



Leighton Baines is set to start for England in Friday's World Cup qualifier with Moldova

Leighton Baines is set to start for England in Friday's World Cup qualifier with Moldova

Leighton Baines is set to be handed his first competitive start for England after Ashley Cole was ruled out of Friday's opening World Cup qualifier against Moldova.

Despite being part of the international set-up for more than three years, Everton left-back Baines has made only one previous competitive appearance - as a substitute for Cole in last year's European Championship qualifier against Switzerland.

But the 27-year-old is significantly more experienced than the other left-back in the squad, Cole's Chelsea team-mate Ryan Bertrand, who won his first cap in last month's friendly against Italy and Friday's Group H game in Chisinau would be Baines' 10th appearance.

It would have been Cole's 99th but for the ankle injury that forced him to pull out of the match - a problem the 31-year-old has been struggling with since Chelsea's UEFA Super Cup defeat against Atletico Madrid on Friday.

He was set to be reassessed on Sunday to determine whether he would be fit for England's home game against Ukraine next Tuesday.

It was unclear whether his ankle injury was related to the long-standing issue that has needed to be managed after matches for club and country.

John Terry on Monday night looked to have won his battle to be fit for the double-header after playing a full part in training at the national team's London Colney base. The Chelsea captain seemed completely untroubled by his recent neck injury as he headed several balls during the session of more than an hour.

Striker Andy Carroll had already been ruled out of both games after suffering a hamstring injury on his West Ham debut on Saturday.

England boss Roy Hodgson was already without Wayne Rooney, who suffered a gashed leg playing for Manchester United before the squad was named.

Sixteen of England's 22 remaining players trained on Monday, with those involved in matches on Sunday restricted to gym work: captain Steven Gerrard, Danny Welbeck, Glen Johnson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverley.

4Comments
04/09/2012 20:56
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hope england lose! since rooneys not playing who will u all blame this time (despite the fact theres 11 players on a team)
04/09/2012 15:22
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Baines deserves his chance he has been playing very well and is becoming a better player than l first envisaged
04/09/2012 10:34
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This is Baines' chance to shine and keep Cole out. I am sure Baines can jump a bit higher than Cole's pathetic two inches. When a cross comes over you would think Cole's feet were stuck to the ground. I would hate to see Cole reach 100 caps. He doesn't deserve to be up there with the England greats.
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