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Oct 12, 2012

England drop Cole against San Marino

Ashley Cole has been left out of the England team for the 2014 World Cup qualifier against San Marino at Wembley on Friday night, ESPN can reveal.

• Cole says sorry to FA chief
• FA charges Cole over tweet
• Cole to be punished for rant
• Blog: No strangers to scandal

Cole, 31, was charged with misconduct by the FA on Monday after his foul-mouthed Twitter rant against the association last week, but manager Roy Hodgson has 'dropped' the defender for footballing reasons and not because of any disciplinary action.

An ESPN insider said on Friday morning: "No, Ashley is not playing, but then again he was never going to play."

The left-back used his official Twitter account to respond to the publication of an FA panel's report into the John Terry racism verdict, which said there were "considerable doubts" about evidence given in support of Terry by Cole and suggested it had "evolved".

Soon after its publication, he tweeted: "Hahahahaa, well done #fa I lied did I, #BUNCHOFTW***". But later he apologised to Football Association chairman David Bernstein and "showed real contrition."

With injuries to Kieran Gibbs and Ryan Bertrand, Leighton Baines will take his place due to his exceptional form this season against the joint-worst side in world football with Cole expected to return for the more important tie in Poland on Tuesday.

Expected team: Joe Hart, Kyle Walker, Gary Cahill, Phil Jagielka, Leighton Baines, Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley, Wayne Rooney, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Danny Welbeck.