No manager has ever shown faith in me, says Cole

There is a theory that if Joe Cole had grown up in Cadiz instead of Camden and was called Jose Carbonero or something similar, we would all appreciate his beguiling – occasionally frustrating – talent as a footballer all the more. Cole is stuck with being English, however, and England's match-winner against Andorra appealed yesterday to Fabio Capello to be the first manager to show real faith in him when he picks his team to face Croatia in the World Cup qualifier tomorrow night.

Cole's admission that he has never had a manager who truly believed in him was some statement from the man who scored two goals against Andorra and cannot be sure of his place in the team in Zagreb for what is the pivotal game of the Capello reign. "I have always prided myself on being able to come back from disappointments," he said. "I get my head down, try to do well, playing with the pressure. Two or three years ago it was if I had a bad 45 minutes I might not get back in the team. Now it's down to a bad 90 minutes.

"Sometimes I think if I had a manager who said to me: 'Go out and do your stuff, you can have two or three indifferent games', as players do, then maybe I could be an even better player than I am. I have not had that in my career. I would take playing for England anywhere, sit on the bench, play in goal. But it's nice to have someone right behind me. That [playing consistently] is the Holy Grail for any footballer. You would love to have that kind of belief from your manager. I hope it is my time."

Cole, 25, is perceived as the nearly man of English football for club and country while in fact Steve McClaren, during his reign as England manager, started Cole in every game for which he was fit – 10 in all. Similarly, no Chelsea player started more games than Cole last season. If anything he is one of England's more established players, with four caps – two of them starts – under Capello, and it is hard to believe that Stewart Downing's lacklustre performance against Andorra will keep Cole out the side tomorrow.

As Capello ponders his team will he consider Cole on one wing and Theo Walcott on the other side too fragile a line-up for the Maksimir stadium? Like Jose Mourinho often did at Chelsea, Capello could be seen yelling at Cole, a second-half substitute on Saturday, for drifting out of position against Andorra. "Of course I wasn't disappointed to be criticised by the manager," Cole said. "That's what he's there for. He just asked us [Cole and Wayne Rooney] to play further forward. And, yes, he does know how to swear in English."

Cole's favourite position, he later told us, was playing behind the two strikers and with a mandate to go left or right. "Players like [Lionel] Messi, Ronaldinho, [Cristiano] Ronaldo – they play left, right and centre," he said. He is pushing his luck if he wants that kind of job tomorrow night in what, in all likelihood, will be a 4-3-2-1/4-5-1 formation to ensure a draw at the very least. If Cole starts, it will probably be on the left side, where McClaren favoured him.

Like a few players have said already, however, Cole said that the old certainties about England, with players being guaranteed a place in the team, had gone under Capello. Despite this contradicting his earlier wish for blind faith from his manager, Cole considered that to be a good thing. To judge by training in Barcelona yesterday – England flew to Zagreb last night – Capello is keeping his players guessing again.

"He tells us a couple of hours before kick-off what the team is," Cole said, "but it is not that we are not prepared. You go into the game knowing what you've got to do. You just don't know who the personnel are. I think it is great because no one is safe. For too long we've had established players, who maybe know that they are going to play. Ending that is a good thing.

"I remember the first game we trained under Capello and I phoned my dad after training and said, 'It looks like I am in the team'. Second day I said, 'I'm out of it'. He said, 'What did you do?' I said, 'I don't know. I just trained.' It is a sign of a great manager. Basically, no one is safe and that can only breed competition."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
Fans take a selfie with Ed Miliband in Kempston, near Bedford, on Tuesday
election 2015
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power