Former Chelsea star has much to prove at Anfield.
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Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson has alluded to his fears regarding the fragile mental state of Joe Cole.
“He isn’t a naturally confident character. He suffers when things are not going his way,” said Hodgson.
“Everyone at the club has worked hard to make sure he doesn’t take it too hard and take too much on himself, because he’s quite happy to take responsibility.”
Hodgson added: “I am always wary of answering about people’s mental state. It’s difficult enough to judge them physically. But one thing is certain is that Joe’s desperate to show what he can do.
“Because of where he plays, he is one who plays with small margin and then of course the risk of failure is even greater. For some they can get success just by booting the ball away, but Joe can’t do it in the position he plays in.
“I don’t know how frustrated he’s been. He would obviously have liked to hit the ground running but it’s not been possible, largely because of injuries.
“But he has a long time with us, a long contract and we know what he’s capable of doing. The sooner he produces it of course the better for me, but there is no pressure on him in that respect. He is a quality player who will come good.” (Sky Sports)
I will leave the question of whether this is another PR disaster for Roy Hodgson or not for another day, and instead concentrate on the matter at hand.
Joe Cole has done little to justify his signing for Liverpool, and the former Chelsea player was not exactly a free transfer.
Although his contract at Stamford Bridge had expired, Cole was reportedly given a £5m signing on fee to sweeten the deal – and it is notable that Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy refused to pay it.
Indeed, Spurs instead moved for Real Madrid ace Rafael Van Der Vaart, who has proved an inspired acquisition at just £8m.
Everyone knows that what Liverpool need are a couple of pacey wide men and a decent partner / backup for Fernando Torres, which is why we are regularly linked with the likes of Eden Hazard and Keisuke Honda.
Joe Cole is capable of playing in a number of positions, but slows play down wherever he is on the pitch. He tries hard, and desperately wants to be a success – witness his eagerness to take the penalty against Trabzonspor, or the red card on his debut against Arsenal.
He missed, and that sums up his Liverpool career to date: trying but not delivering.
Cole is rarely a goal threat, and have you ever seen someone take longer to perform a stepover?
I would much rather see either Steven Gerrard or Raul Meireles just behind Torres, and we have been much better without Cole in the side recently.
Next summer, when our team is given the major overhaul it requires from Fenway Sports Group (previously NESV), I don’t think Joe Cole should be anywhere near the starting XI.
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