Joe Cole Hangs Up His Boots at 37

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 03: Joe Cole of Chelsea celebrates scoring the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford on April 3, 2010 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Joe Cole, who joined the West Ham United youth setup in 1990 at the age of nine, has confirmed that his time in football is up, after playing his final game for Tampa Bay Rowdies.

Cole was a clever, versatile and technically gifted midfielder. He was capable of playing in several offensive midfield positions, as an attacking midfielder, winger or even a supporting striker. He was a quick, strong and creative player who was particularly remembered for his dribbling skills and flair, which was once praised by none other than Pele.

Joe Cole Hangs Up His Boots at 37

Joe Cole’s Club Career

Joe Cole played for an array of clubs during his time, including West Ham (where he wore the captain’s armband at 21), Liverpool, Lille, Aston Villa, Coventry and Tampa Bay Rowdies. But his most memorable moments took place at Chelsea, where he spent seven years of his career playing between 2003 and 2010. During those seven years, Cole won three Premier League titles, two FA Cups, one League Cup and one Community Shield. As well as this, he was featured in the PFA Team of the Year in 2005/06 and was the Chelsea Player of the Year in 2007/08.

Perhaps his most memorable moment in a Chelsea shirt, and even his entire club career, is ‘that’ goal against Manchester United in the 2005/06 season which saw him dribble past five players and score a wonderful goal. This goal would secure Chelsea the Premier League title. Therefore, he cemented his place in the lineup for the following season, before embarking on an injury journey.

International Career

Joe Cole was capped 56 times for England and scored ten goals. On the odd occasion, he popped up with a goal – they were always something special. His most memorable moment in an England shirt was his 2006 World Cup display against Sweden and particularly his goal. As he bounced the ball off his shoulder and onto his right boot, he let fly. A spectacular goal it was, which saw England qualify for the next round in first place, before being knocked out by Portugal on penalties in the quarter-finals.

Reflection

Joe Cole had a spectacular career and was one of the best players in a dominant Chelsea side in 2005/06 and was also England’s standout performer at the 2006 World Cup. Cole was a player who was hit heavily by injuries. We never got to see his true prime. He was a spectacular English talent and a unique one which we rarely see. If not for his restrictions, we could’ve seen one of the best English players in the history of football. At 37, his playing career is up, as he moves towards either coaching or punditry.

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