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West Ham’s Carlton Cole – From Clown To Class

Effra can’t quite believe the performance of one of England’s forgotten starlets.

After his performances in the last few games, and his topping the Premier League assist table, I owe Carlton Cole a serious apology given my bad-mouthing him after the Sunderland game. A run in the side and a few goals has transformed his confidence and with it his ability, just what I was hastily proclaiming was never going to happen. Gone is the clumsy, loping striker with a lousy touch, and in his place we have a powerful, hard-working centre-forward making life extremely difficult for defenders.

Sure, nice as 5-0 wins away from home are, and they come along about once every couple of decades for West Ham fans, no-one should get too carried away when a centre-forward performance as good as Cole’s on Saturday comes against a team as miserable as Derby. Yet two months ago Cole wouldn’t have been holding the ball up, knocking headers down, passing balls in like that if the opposition had been sub-Championship standard. Just sometimes perhaps we should take players at their word. Some of them are willing to put the effort in to get better and they do deserve more than a couple of chances to prove their worth before we all convince ourselves that they are not fit to wear the shirts of our beloved clubs.

When Ashton pronounces himself fit again for the Tottenham game, Cole is probably going to keep him out of the side. Now if someone had said that to me, at any point during last season or the beginning of this, I would probably have thought that they were well on the way to being sectioned. Carlton, I’m sorry.