Ashley Cole was all smiles as he made a quicker than expected return to England with new side AS Roma, discussing his new life and old friends at Manchester City FC.
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When Ashley Cole bid farewell to England this summer after eight years at Chelsea FC, he could not have expected to be back so quickly, preparing for AS Roma's away fixture with Manchester City FC. On the eve of the game the 33-year-old former England and Arsenal FC left-back was in high spirits.
Familiar faces …
It's good to see Joe Hart and Lamps – I never expected to play against him [Frank Lampard]. It will be good to see him if we're both selected. I think everyone knows what Lampard brings to every team. It's another experienced player for City and he brings goals. He scored one against Chelsea. He probably didn't like that but he's paid to do a job. It was probably a bit disappointing for him to do that against Chelsea.
The difference between English and Italian football …
I'm loving Italy. Of course it's different to the Premier League. You are up against different players, most of them have very good technique and the Premier League is fast and furious. Serie A is slower, though we like to attack and play fast.
The manager is always on us to go forward and play. The football is different but I'm getting used to it now and enjoying playing Italian football. I loved playing in the Premier League but this is something different.
Life at Roma …
So far things have gone well with Roma, but I'm not playing that well. I won't get carried away. I need more games. I'm enjoying my football and hopefully I can emulate what I achieved at Arsenal and Chelsea. I have to get used to the league and the way we play. But hopefully, if I get some more game time and start to understand the league a little bit more, I'll start to attack a little bit more.
On Tuesday's opponents City …
I think everyone knows how good City are now. They have been champions twice. They have Touré, Džeko, Agüero, Hart and then they sign Lampard. These players are known worldwide because they win things, they have won the Premier League and now they will be aiming to win the Champions League as well.
They have great players all over the pitch. We know a lot of their players and how good they are. We have to focus on ourselves and we have good players, too. They know it will be a tough game and though we are the underdogs, we will give it everything and be ready for the game.
We know they've got a big strong squad with a lot of match winners. It's a new experience for some of our players but we are confident that we can challenge the top teams, come to City, play well and maybe don't lose the game – that's the main thing.
On what a Roma win would mean …
Of course it will make it more difficult for them [City] to qualify. It will be a tough game. It will make it hard for them to catch up certainly and put us top of the group. There is pressure on them. They have big players and I know some of them are very hungry – Hart and Milner and Lamps will always want to keep on winning – but there's less pressure on us.