Joe Cole is currently playing for Liverpool and the England national team.
As a youngster Joe Cole was widely regarded as the hottest prospect in English football and was compared to the likes of Paul Gascoine. He famously scored seven goals in an 8-0 win over the Spanish under-18 national side. He established himself as a West Ham regular at the tender age of 17 and by the age of 21 he was captaining the Hammers. In 2003, and over 100 appearances later, the Hammers were fighting desperately for Premier League survival. Joe unfortunately couldn’t keep his beloved Hammers up and he was approached toward the end of 2003 by Chelsea at the start of the Roman Abramovich era.
He signed for Chelsea in the summer of 2003 for a fee of 6.6 million pounds sterling. As soon as he arrived his place was under threat from the likes of Damien Duff and Arjen Robben. He fell out of favor with Claudio Ranieri and was forced to settle on the bench for the 2003/04 season. When Ranieri left he was replaced by ‘The Special One’ Jose Mourinho who opened the door for Cole. Mind you, there was also the factor that Damien Duff and Robben were injured for large chunks of the season. When given the chance Joe Cole showed glimpses of the form that made him ‘Hammer of the year 2003’. Joe scored a goal in the 3-0 rout over Manchester United at the end of the 2004/05 season. He continued to impress and was influential in Chelsea’s 2005/06 season, as the Blues retained the title. He was proving himself as a massive threat throughout the Premiership but once again dipped in form and was left to warm the bench for the 2008/09 & 2009/10 seasons.
Chelsea refused to offer Joe Cole a contract extension and so he left them in July 2010 to join rivals Liverpool on a free transfer. His first match was against Rabonstki as a qualifier for the Europa League and he showed he still had it by displaying a man of the match performance setting up David Ngog as Liverpool romped to a 2-0 win.
His Premier League debut with Liverpool was far from impressive as he was sent off for a two footed lunge on Arsenal’s Lorient Koscielny on the stroke of half time. When he returned, he failed to rediscover that form that he displayed at Rabotnicki as he was once again relegated to the bench as Maxi Rodriguez took his place.
Over the past couple of years Joe Cole has disintegrated into nothing with his overall play disappointing as he lacks that killer instinct he once had. What was once promised to be one of the best English players had evaporated by his middle twenties. He is still only 29 and maybe there is more to come but he is most definitely past his prime. He lacks the pace that he used to possess and his ball skills have vanished. I used to watch Chelsea all the time as his mesmerising pace caused all defenders a problem and he was a thorn in any Premier League side that came against him. Numerous injuries have contributed to his downfall and unfortunately he will never be the same player he used to be.