London: Chelsea defender Ashley Cole has been ruled out of England's opening World Cup qualifier against Moldova after suffering an ankle injury.
Cole has been troubled by the problem since Chelsea's UEFA Super Cup defeat against Atletico Madrid on Friday and the Football Association have confirmed the left-back won't travel to Chisinau for Friday's Group H clash.
The 31-year-old will return to Chelsea for treatment this week before linking up again with his international team-mates.
He will be assessed on Sunday and England coach Roy Hodgson hopes he could recover in time to feature in the qualifier against Ukraine at Wembley on September 11.
"After reporting to the England hotel on Monday morning, Ashley Cole has returned to Chelsea for further treatment," a statement on the FA website announced.
"Cole has a minor ankle concern and will be treated by his club this week, before being assessed by the England medical staff on Sunday to see if he is available for the World Cup qualifier with Ukraine, on Tuesday 11 September."
It is another blow for Hodgson after striker Andy Carroll was forced to withdraw from the squad with a hamstring injury sustained in the second half of his West Ham debut against Fulham on Saturday.
Hodgson is unlikely to call up a replacement for Cole as Everton's Leighton Baines and Chelsea's Ryan Bertrand, who were both named in his orginal squad, can fill in at left-back.
Cole's injury has ended his hopes of becoming the first full-back to win 100 caps for England during this month's double-header.
He is currently on 98 and will have to wait until at least next month to reach his century.