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Cole still harbours England hopes

West Ham United midfielder Joe Cole will not give up on his dream of representing England again.

The 31-year-old has been in good form since returning to West Ham from Liverpool in the off-season.

And, although Cole thinks fellow English midfielders Jack Wilshere and Tom Cleverley are “world-class” after the Three Lions impressively beat Brazil 2-1 on Wednesday, he feels that he can still perform at the highest level for his country.

“(Wilshere and Cleverley) are fantastic players,” he told the Daily Telegraph.

“Wilshere is top-drawer, world class. I was thinking ‘how am I going to get in this team?’ Because I still want to play for England.

“It’s a long time since I played and I know the odds are against me because I’ve been away for so long. But I enjoy the challenge. That’s the masochist in me.”

Cole is happy with how his career has panned out despite struggling at Anfield but still has the hunger for more success – and feels that West Ham manager Sam Allardyce is the right man to help him and the club progress.

“If my career stopped tomorrow then I would be happy with everything that I’ve achieved but I’ve still got the desire to do more, play more games, score more goals, win more trophies,” he said.

“We can win the League Cup, FA Cup and Sam Allardyce is an ambitious man.

“He has come here because he wants to do well and maybe one day get the England job. You can feel that everything’s pointing in the right direction for the club.”

Though he is looking to his future prospects, the playmaker is happy to recall his astonishing goal against Sweden in 2006 FIFA World Cup as a highlight of his career.

“When I scored the goal against Sweden, a goal that’s gone down as one of the great goals, afterwards I just gave my shirt to one of the Swedish players,” Cole said.

“And JT (John Terry) said to me: ‘What are you doing? With that goal you scored you can’t just give your shirt away!’ and I’m like ‘oh, no,’ and went and got the shirt back.

“I hadn’t thought of it as a career-defining moment but now when people think of me in an England shirt they think of that goal. Like Michael Owen against Argentina, (Steven) Gerrard against Germany. But as you get older you learn to appreciate what you’ve done.”

Sun 10 February, 2013
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