'Emile has a bit of an Achilles problem and it was getting worse as the game went on,' said Villa manager Martin O'Neill at the weekend.
England manager Fabio Capello is already without Wayne Rooney, Jermain Defoe, Michael Owen and Theo Walcott for the trip to Spain. And if Heskey is also sidelined, West Ham striker Cole could be rewarded for his excellent run of form with a first international start.
'I think Carlton will be a very good player for England," said Gianfranco Zola, whose appointment as West Ham manager has transformed Cole's career.
"I have just been in the job six months so I can't really say to Fabio 'do this or that'. But Carlton is a player who is improving and am sure he will get better and better.
"His attitude has changed. When he was at Chelsea he was very young and it was difficult for him to get a chance.
"Now he has realised he has a big opportunity. He needed to become more convinced about himself and become a problem for the opposition. He is getting better and better.
"A successful player is the one that knows where he has to get and Carlton Cole has all the attributes to be a winner."