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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 April 2006, 05:29 GMT 06:29 UK
England boost for Campbell & Cole
Ashley Cole and Sol Campbell
Cole and Campbell last played together for Arsenal in September
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger believes defenders Sol Campbell and Ashley Cole will be fit for England's World Cup campaign this summer.

Campbell, 31, will face Portsmouth on Wednesday after two-and-a-half months on the sidelines at Highbury.

Cole, 25, is set to return to training on Monday after being hampered by injuries since October 2005.

Wenger said: "I have spoken to England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson and told him they will be ready for selection."

The Gunners are Wenger's priority, atlhough he added: "England is not on my mind but I would be happy if Sol can combine both. I want him to go to the World Cup."

Campbell was taken off at half-time during Arsenal's encounter with West Ham on 1 February.

He walked out of Highbury after being withdrawn and has since been hampered by ankle and toe injuries.

If Arsenal win their Champions League semi-final against Villarreal, Campbell will have a maximum of nine games for the club to show he is worth a place in England's squad for the World Cup finals in Germany.

Centre-half Campbell is thought to have dropped behind Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand and Chelsea's John Terry in England's pecking order.

However, he revealed earlier this month that England boss Eriksson had reassured him that he would be picked - if he returned to action for the Gunners this season.

Ashley Cole will not play against Villarreal unless we have a disaster before that but he should be fit for the last four or five games
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger

Campbell will replace the rested Philippe Senderos against Portsmouth and Wenger said: "It gives Sol a good opportunity to show that he is ready for us as well as for England.

"I feel he is ready for us but he knows he needs to play before the World Cup if he wants to be selected.

"I believe he has the quality to be first choice for England."

Meanwhile, Gunners full-back Cole is also poised for a comeback after sustaining an ankle injury when on duty for the reserves in February.

Before that match he had been struggling with a broken bone in a foot and a thigh problem.

Wenger said: "Ashley will come back into the training squad on Monday.

"So far he has only practised with the fitness coach. He will practise with everybody again on Monday.

"He will not play against Villarreal unless we have a disaster before that but he should be fit for the last four or five games."


SEE ALSO
Portsmouth v Arsenal
11 Apr 06 |  Premiership
Robson expresses Campbell concern
09 Apr 06 |  World Cup 2006
Wenger banishes fears over Cole
07 Mar 06 |  Arsenal
Wenger will not rush Cole return
23 Feb 06 |  Arsenal


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