Ashley Cole returns to England duty against Poland

Oct 15, 2012
Bill Mann

Hodgson recalls his big guns for the match on Tuesday, but Milner replaces Walcott

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ASHLEY COLE is set to make his 99th appearance for England on Tuesday night against Poland in the Three Lions' latest World Cup qualifier.

It's reported that the Chelsea left-back is one of six changes that Roy Hodgson will make to his England side following Friday's 5-0 thrashing of San Marino. In addition to Cole, Joleon Lescott and James Milner will be named in the starting XI to face Poland in Warsaw, with the Liverpool duo of Glen Johnson and Steven Gerrard also included after they were omitted from the Wembley match because of suspension.

The Sun reports that the sixth change will be the inclusion of Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe at the expense of Danny Welbeck, despite the fact that the Manchester United forward scored two of England's five goals against San Marino.

James Milner will take the place of Arsenal winger Theo Walcott who was carried off after five minutes on Friday following a heavy collision with San Marino goalkeeper Aldo Simoncini. Walcott suffered a chest injury in the incident and is expected to be sidelined for a fortnight.

Meanwhile Chelsea's Frank Lampard and Ryan Bertrand will not travel with the England squad when they fly out of London on Monday morning. Lampard has failed to recover from a calf injury while the 23-year-old Bertrand (called into the squad last week as a replacement for Arsenal's Kieran Gibbs) has been struck down by a virus. Bertrand's illness resulted in a first international call up for Arsenal defender Carl Jenkinson, but although the 20-year-old trained with England on Sunday he won't be making the trip to Poland.

It's believed Hodgson will pair Lescott with Phil Jagielka in central defence as England get on with life after the retirement of John Terry. The Chelsea captain stepped down from international football last month and Jagielka has admitted competition to replace him is fierce within the squad.

"You've got Gary Cahill, who had a great game against San Marino going forward, and Joleon Lescott, who had a fantastic Euros [championship], plus the other lads coming into the squad like Ryan Shawcross. It's going to keep us on our toes," said the Everton defender.

England's victory over San Marino leaves them top of Group H on seven points and a win over Poland will put Hodgson's side well on their way to World Cup qualification. The Poles lie third in the group and are expected to be without captain Jakub Blaszczykowski and Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.

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