Foolish to write off Joe Cole

Last week, England manager Fabio Capello dealt a blow to Joe Cole’s World Cup hopes by saying the Chelsea midfielder “has problems” and his current form for Chelsea is a problem. Capello spoke out after Chelsea’s 4-2 defeat to Man City, telling The Mirror:

“Every game that Joe plays we either watch live in the stadium or view on television. But there are some problems for him. He’s not back like the player I remember. We have to wait. Possibly he will improve over the last two months.”

Cole’s form for Chelsea has been indifferent, to put it best. In the Premiership, Cole has played in 17 games (starting 11 of them) and only scoring once. A third of Cole’s Premiership appearances have come from the bench and he rarely finishes games he starts. Carlo Ancelotti is obviously not a fan of the England international, and Cole’s future at Stamford Bridge is up in the air at the moment, with his contract expiring in the summer.

Cole’s situation with England is not much better at the moment. In the game last night against Egypt, Capello preferred a starting midfield of Gerrard, Lampard, Barry and Walcott, with Carrick, Milner and Shaun Wright-Phillips coming off the bench. Cole didn’t even make it off the bench.

But then if you suffered a serious cruciate ligament injury that kept you out for most of last season, it would take a while to rediscover your past form. And that’s what has happened with Cole. He is still the same Joe Cole that possesses great technical ability and can unlock defences with his creativity, he just needs to be given a run in the Chelsea first team to get his confidence back.

I believe that Capello’s criticism levied towards Cole is unjust, and I think that England do need the Chelsea midfielder in the squad for the World Cup. I don’t believe he will start for England, but Joe Cole is a world-class midfielder and you need players like him if you want to go far in a World Cup.

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