Joe Cole's thoughts are only of Chelsea

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The Independent Football

Chelsea midfielder Joe Cole has banished all thoughts of earning a place in England's World Cup squad - insisting that he first wants to rediscover his best form for the Blues.

Cole made his first appearance for eight months in the club's 1-0 Carling Cup third-round win over QPR on Wednesday night after recovering from knee ligament damage.

The 27-year-old has been forced to watch from the sidelines as England qualified for next summer's finals in South Africa without his services.

Now he has a battle ahead to convince England coach Fabio Capello that he is worth being part of the 23-man squad.

But Cole said: "Our country is on a high with the way the lads are playing - it's great. I'd like to get back but that's all in good time.

"For me it's just a case of taking it day by day and keep working hard. When England comes along I'll take that challenge.

"I don't want to get into talking about England. It would be stupid to say I'm back and I want to be here, there and everywhere.

"I just want to get stronger every day and take what I can out of training. I can't rush it.

"Chelsea are playing well and England are playing well - it's fantastic.

"All I can do is get to the best quality I can and I'm confident when I get there, I'll get an awful lot of games this year."

Cole was made captain by Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti on Wednesday and he repaid him by setting up the winning goal for Salomon Kalou in the 52nd minute.

The England international was picked to play at the top of the diamond in midfield and was clearly at home in the role.

"I was in the middle and it suits me down to the ground," said Cole.

"It helped me a lot playing in that system because you can play the game at your own pace.

"Things come naturally to me there rather than playing as a winger and being expected to run past people.

"To captain Chelsea is just unbelievable. I was a ball boy here and I am a fan.

"It was good for my mum, dad, two sisters and girlfriend. They have all been through it with me, and it was great for everyone."

Cole is now set to return to the sidelines as Chelsea travel to Wigan on Saturday.

Ancelotti rested a host of first team players against Rangers, but they will be back in the squad for the trip north, along with striker Didier Drogba, who is fit again after being stretchered off in the 3-0 win over Tottenham with a calf injury.