Once hailed as English football's brightest prospect, Joe Cole is a natural with the ball at his feet. His best position is behind the strikers but he has spent much of his career out on the midfield flanks, both for Chelsea FC and England. He missed most of 2009 with knee ligament damage.
• Having gained national media attention for his exceptional talent as a schoolboy, he had already made his first-team debut for West Ham United FC before he won the FA Youth Cup with the club, aged 17, in 1999.
• Made his senior England debut at 19, in May 2001, and was a squad member at the following year's FIFA World Cup in the Far East; unused at UEFA EURO 2004, he was one of his country's top players at the 2006 World Cup, scoring a spectacular goal against Sweden.
• Left West Ham after their relegation from the Premier League in 2003 and joined Chelsea, the club he supported as a boy; often used as a substitute in his first two seasons but thrived in his third as Stamford Bridge club won second successive Premier League title under José Mourinho.
• Missed much of 2006/07 campaign with knee and foot injuries but returned to win Chelsea player of the year award in 2007/08, making more Premier League and UEFA Champions League starts that season than anyone else.
• Badly injured in January 2009 FA Cup tie, he did not return to Premier League action until October.
Did you know?
Cole scored the first two competitive goals of Fabio Capello's reign as England manager – in the team's opening 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Andorra in Barcelona (2-0).
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