Joe Cole’s ‘World Cup Clock’ is well and truly ticking

Chelsea midfielder Joe Cole’s England World Cup hopes could be running out of time under boss Carlo Ancelotti.

The extremely talented midfielder has had a rough time recently having spent nearly the past year being injured with cruciate ligament damage in his knee. Having returned to the first team fold under new boss Carlo Ancelotti, Cole has found his Chelsea first team opportunities limited considerably. This in turn is having an adverse effect on Fabio Capello’s thoughts of whether to take Cole to the World Cup in South Africa this summer.

What is becoming clear is Joe Cole is a victim of circumstance. The terrible knee injury he sustained last year has put him out of all reckoning with club and country. Since he has been injured Chelsea have remerged under Carlo Ancelotti into a likely title winning side and England have prospered considerably under Fabio Capello’s tutelage without Joe Cole present. He is one of the most talented Englishmen with the ball but it appears Ancelotti just doesn’t fancy him.

Chelsea fans love Joe Cole; awarded the fans player of the season in 2008 his jinking and darting runs have been setting Stamford Bridge alight since Cole’s big money move from West Ham in 2003. Under Ancelotti it appears Floran Malouda is preferred to Joe Cole on the left of the diamond midfield Ancelotti likes to employ. In all honesty it’s working, Malouda is having the season of his life after initially struggling to adapt to at Chelsea upon his arrival. His place within the team is merited, but Joe Cole himself would love to play at the tip of the diamond but that slot is saved for the likes of Frank Lampard or Michael Ballack. Unfortunately for Joe Cole his injury has made him a bit part player in the new Chelsea regime. In last night’s Champions League match against Inter Milan, he cut a lonely figure on that Chelsea bench. Cole is the sort of player who can change a game. Even Daniel Sturridge was brought on ahead of him when Chelsea needed a goal. That’s not much of a confident boost.

What this in turn is doing is curtailing Joe Cole’s World Cup chances. Whilst I am a big Joe Cole fan and would like to see him back in the England set up I just don’t see where he starts. James Milner this season has really come into his own and looks likely to be an England regular in future years, does Joe Cole warrant a place ahead of Aston Villa’s Milner? I would have to say not. Cole when he has had games has not performed consistently to the level we know he is capable of. His long term injury has had an effect, that is fair to say, but I think it may be time for him to spread his wings and leave Chelsea if he is not getting enough first team action. A move to the continent perhaps may be on the cards. Joe Cole certainly has the technical attributes to succeed in Spain or Italy. With his contract running out in June it’s looking more likely the star will leave Chelsea.

Fabio Capello has a tough decision, taking Cole when he is not playing well and not playing often goes against everything Capello preaches and stands for. But the quality of the player cannot be ignored. I think Cole will go, but don’t expect Capello to use him too often.

Do you think Joe Cole should be included in Fabio Capello’s World Cup squad?

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