England skipper John Terry looks set to miss Wednesday’s Euro 2008 qualifier against Russia in Moscow after his knee locked up in training.
Terry had been given the all-clear just hours earlier but suffered a recurrence of the injury that forced him to sit out Saturday’s win over Estonia.
Sol Campbell is expected to deputise for Terry once more.
Head coach Steve McClaren said: “John Terry is almost certainly ruled out – he could not complete the session.”
Terry had known, too, that the knee trouble might return.
“It could happen in training or a game,” the defender said, never really supposing that the meeting with Russia could be the fixture in question. An operation will be required and Chelsea look bound to go ahead with that at once.
“A bit of bone or cartilage has come away, and when it got trapped my knee flared up. I will have to have an op in the near future to remove that bit of floating bone. I’ll be back playing inside a week, I’m told. There’s no surgery really to be done.”
McClaren will not reveal his starting XI until Wednesday, however he is expected to give Everton defender Joleon Lescott his first international start at left-back.
“I can’t name the team or formation – I’ve decided, but the team won’t be confirmed until later on Tuesday evening to the players,” revealed McClaren.
“Joleon, Nicky (Shorey) or Phil (Neville) – I’ve every confidence in whoever it is who replaces Ashley to do the job.
“We are coming here to win the game, and it’s important we do that and we go into the game knowing we can win it – look at our recent form.
“There are so many permutations and issues around the game. But we have got to make sure we do the job.”