All you need is love... and that's why Joe chose Liverpool

Hodgson's guarantee of regular football swung it for Cole. Mark Fleming reports

In the end, it was the football that swung it for Joe Cole. Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal were both waving tempting offers in his direction, but neither club could promise quite the security that Roy Hodgson was all but guaranteeing at Liverpool.

Not financial security, for he could have earned similar amounts to the £90,000-a-week deal his agents have negotiated with Liverpool at either club. But footballing security, the comfort that comes from knowing the manager likes you and wants to put you in the team, the kind of security that Cole once enjoyed at West Ham United but he never really felt at Chelsea.

During his seven seasons at Stamford Bridge he yo-yoed in and out of the team under successive managers from Claudio Ranieri to Carlo Ancelotti, failing to convince any of them he should be an automatic selection. Cole started his Chelsea career as understudy to Juan Sebastian Veron, and ended it as stand-in for Florent Malouda.

Along the way he filled his trophy cabinet with three Premier Leagues, three FA Cups and two Carling Cups, and his bank account with plenty of cash, but he was left frustrated because while England team-mates such as John Terry, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole were all key figures, he was peripheral, a useful man to have on the bench.

Ancelotti, the Chelsea manager, claimed at the weekend that Cole's departure was "economic" but there were also some serious footballing considerations behind the decision to let him walk away. Cole wanted to play every game, and his frustration at not doing so was felt throughout the squad. His replacement Yossi Benayoun, signed for £5.5m from Liverpool a month ago, will not rock the boat if he is left out.

At Liverpool, Cole will find in Hodgson a manager who does not tend to chop and change the side from week to week, a manager who likes his teams to play a passing game, a manager who values English talent, a manager who is universally respected by the players under his charge. Cole will also find a club where creative players are idolised by their passionate fans, a bit like West Ham with knobs on. This is what Cole craves. As the former Liverpool captain Jamie Redknapp said yesterday: "He needs to go somewhere, be loved, and play football and get back to being the Joe Cole we all know and love."

Cole's early career was very similar to that of Wayne Rooney. There was a lot of talk about them before they broke into their respective first teams at West Ham and Everton, when Cole was 17 and Rooney 16. They stayed put for a couple of years before moving on to bigger things, and that's where their stories diverge. Rooney blossomed at Manchester United into the finest English player of his generation, while Cole struggled even to find his best position at Chelsea.

Loved by the fans but not by the managers, in his seven seasons at the Bridge he took on a variety of jobs, but sadly his most regular position was on the bench. Last season Ancelotti tried him in several different positions, from playing in the hole behind the strikers to a place out wide on the right, but Cole never looked convincing, despite moments of inspiration such as a back-heeled goal in Chelsea's 2-1 victory at Manchester United that helped them win the title.

That will be the biggest change for him at Liverpool, that he will have a settled role in a settled team. Cole was given no assurances that Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres would be staying: the most important thing for Cole is that he gets to play. He may even be given the famous No 7 shirt, as worn by Liverpool legends Kevin Keegan and Kenny Dalglish. Who wouldn't be swayed by such a prospect? It's almost as good as the No 10 shirt with Brazil.

And there is little doubt they will love him on the Kop. No manager has ever criticised Cole's work-rate and commitment, characteristics that have earned him the adoration of the supporters at both Upton Park and Stamford Bridge. If he can also win the love of his manager, then Cole will be in his element. As Liverpool's most famous sons once sang: "All you need is love."

The drawback for Cole is that by moving north to Liverpool he is undoubtedly taking a step down, from the champions to the team that finished seventh. Chelsea are aiming to win the Champions League this season; Liverpool are hoping to qualify for it next season. That drop in class will be made evident to Cole all too swiftly. His last appearance for Chelsea came in the 1-0 victory over Portsmouth in the FA Cup final that sealed the Double. His Liverpool debut could be the second leg of the Europa League qualifying match against a team from Armenia or Macedonia. But at least he should be guaranteed to start.

The Cole conundrum: the many sides of Liverpool's new man

10International goals scored by Cole in 56 caps. He hasn't found the net for England since his double against Andorra in 2008



£7m In the midst of Roman Abramovich's initial spending spree at Stamford Bridge, Claudio Ranieri signed the 21-year old for £7m in 2003 after he was relegated with West Ham



7 During an England youth-team match against Spain, Cole scored seven of eight goals for his side

33% Despite the admiration fans had for the winger, a third of Cole's appearances for Chelsea came from the substitutes' bench



4 In April 2006, Cole was ranked fourth in The Independent's list of Britain's happiest people



n "Joe Cole is an intelligent player that can play in many different positions"

Fabio Capello, England manager



n "He's plays hard and always tries to do the best for us. I like him very much"

Luiz Felipe Scolari, Ex-Chelsea manager

n "The problem was economic. This is the life of footballers. Cole did a fantastic job, but it's time to move on." Carlo Ancelotti, Chelsea manager

n "Any side in the country would miss a player of Joe's calibre. He has that bit of fantasy that can open up defences" Ray Wilkins, Chelsea coach

n "I think he has two faces – one beautiful and one I don't like. He must keep one and change the other one." Jose Mourinho, former Chelsea manager

n "I still rate him as the best young player I have ever worked with. He was on another planet to everyone else at Upton Park." Harry Redknapp, then West Ham manager

17 His age when Cole made his first-team debut for West Ham

News
Ben Little, right, is a Labour supporter while Jonathan Rogers supports the Green Party
general election 2015
News
The 91st Hakone Ekiden Qualifier at Showa Kinen Park, Tokyo, 2014
news
Life and Style
Buyers of secondhand cars are searching out shades last seen in cop show ‘The Sweeney’
motoringFlares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
News
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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.

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own