Ashley Cole: 'English players are afraid of going abroad,' says new Roma signing prepares for life in Italy

Ex-England man says English players are in a comfort zone in the Premier League

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The Independent Football

As Ashley Cole prepares for life in Italy having joined Roma, he has criticised his fellow Englishman for "being afraid" of going abroad to play.

The 33-year-old former Chelsea and Arsenal defender joined the Serie A team after his contract at Stamford Bridge expired.

Speaking in his first press conference in Italy, Cole, who won 107 caps for England, said top English players don't want to leave the "comfort zone" of the Premier League.

"Perhaps British players are a little afraid to move abroad," he said. "They are accustomed to British culture and for them it is convenient to stay at home.

"But as soon as I had this opportunity, I was glad to get out of London, to face a new language and a new culture."

Fraser Forster was the only member of Roy Hodgson's World Cup squad not based in the Premier League - the goalkeeper plays for Celtic in Scotland.

Cole signed a two-year deal with Roma and will play in the Champions League next season after the Italian club finished second behind Juventus last season.

"I know it's a special atmosphere (at Roma), I immediately realised the passion of the people and their love of this club.

"But this is also the reason why I am here, to experience these emotions and enjoy the city and this adventure."

Rudi Garcia's Roma may have ended up second but ended up 17 points off the runaway leaders. The Giallorossi are expected to make a more significant challenge for the title this season.

"I decided to come here in order to continue to play in the Champions League with a great and ambitious club," Cole said.

"I realised how much the club wanted me and that they considered me useful to their project and I jumped at the opportunity.

"I arrive at an ambitious club and hope to win here."

Cole won In a trophy-laden career with Arsenal and Chelsea, Cole has won three Premier League titles, the FA Cup seven times, one League Cup, the Europa League and the Champions League in 2012.

"I am not afraid of the pressure to win because I spent 14 years in England always fighting for a starting spot and that's what I want to continue doing," Cole said.

"This is a great challenge and I am ready.

"I am also ready to fight for a place in the team and to try to win."

Cole insisted he still has a great relationship with Jose Mourinho

Italian football has had to combat the racist behaviour of some spectators in their stadiums over the years. Cole was asked about the racism issue in Italy.

"I've answered this question several times," he said. "It is difficult to answer but, personally, I was involved in an episode when playing with England against Spain.

"We must act decisively, but it is not for me to say what sanctions are to be imposed.

"I just want to play football and I prefer to stay out of these decisions."

Additional reporting from PA