Jumpers for Cole-posts! Lille ace Joe takes on kids in Regent”s Park during winter shutdown
Joe Cole had no problems settling into life in Ligue 1 but the Lille playmaker is so frustrated during the winter shutdown he has started having a kickabout with strangers in the park.
Cole is on a season-long loan from Liverpool but returned to England when the French top flight downed tools just before Christmas.
The action does not start again until the middle of January and Cole is kicking his heels at being unable to get a game.
French test: Joe Cole (left) is strutting his stuff in Ligue 1 with Lille
He said: “We got given a programme from the fitness coach and we had to go running. I”ve gone down Regent”s Park a few days ago and I”m running, thinking, “This is boring”, and there”s a group of kids playing football, they”re about 15 or 16 and they said, “Will you play”
“I said, “Yeah OK,” thinking I”d just play for five minutes in case I get injured, but next time I looked at my watch I”d been playing for an hour and 20 minutes. I love it.”
Cole has reignited his career in France, scoring three goals since leaving Anfield in the summer and helping Lille to third in the table.
Signing off: Cole scored in Lille”s final game of 2011 – a 4-4 draw with Nice
The 30-year-old had only been on Merseyside for just over a year after a trophy-laden spell at Chelsea.
Cole won three Premier League titles, three FA Cups and two League Cups during his time at Stamford Bridge playing for the likes of Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti.
Ancelotti is set to take charge of Paris St Germain while Mourinho is Real Madrid boss and Cole reckons Chelsea”s Russian owner Roman Abramovich was too quick to show both bosses the door.
“Chelsea have pulled the trigger on a few managers a bit earlier than they should have done,” Cole told talkSPORT.
“Look at Alex Ferguson – it took him five years to win a trophy. It must be frustrating to be a manager because you need four or five years in a job before you start getting results. Chelsea need to stick with a manager and then they”ll be fine.
Blues brothers: Cole loved playing for Jose Mourinho during his Chelsea days
“All the players at Chelsea loved Jose Mourinho and the other managers (who followed him) tried to change it too quickly. But what impressed me about Carlo was he was so clever.
“For the first week he just looked at it, let the lads get on with things and saw what the players liked and managed the players so well. It was the happiest the dressing room had been for a while and we won the Double.
“He”s a great manager and I had a great relationship with him. He”s a top man in football – look at his record, he”s won everything – Champions League winner twice, titles, the Double with Chelsea.
“There are plenty of other people to manage the fitness, the diet, the scouting and stuff. As a manager, the most important thing is to manage players and people and make a happy camp, and Carlo was blinding.
Two good: Carlo Ancelotti won the Double as Chelsea manager in 2009-10
“When he left Milan some of the players were crying, and the lads were like that at Chelsea. He”s a top man and he”ll be a success at PSG.”
Mourinho went on to great success with Inter Milan after leaving London and is now trying to topple Barcelona and re-establish Real as the top team in Spain.
Cole added: “Mourinho was just great to play for, you knew where you stood. Looking back I played my best football under him. I won my most trophies under him. He used to get on my back so much but I can”t thank him enough for it.
“If he goes and wins the league, that is the biggest achievement from any manager at any time because that Barcelona team is something else.”