Joe Cole (born November 8, 1981) is an English international
footballer who plays for Chelsea of the Premiership.
A product of the famed West Ham United youth system, Cole was
long touted as the hottest prospect in English football (a
position now generally regarded as being held by Manchester
United forward Wayne Rooney). Playing in a mould similar to
former England favourite Paul Gascoigne, he quickly progressed
through the West Ham ranks before making his first-team debut at
the age of 17. Whilst his sublime touch and dribbling prowess
won him many plaudits (and several England caps), his career
stagnated in his last few years at the club, especially after
West Ham parted company with manager Harry Redknapp.
In 2003, Cole move to Chelsea as part of Roman Abramovich's
revolution for a rumoured seven million, with a view to
establishing himself in the England national team. However, due
to the stiff competition for places at the club, he initially
struggled to hold down a place in the team for both Chelsea and
England under Claudio Ranieri. However, the arrival of new
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho in 2004 has seen an improvement in
Cole's form, and a starting place in the England team.
As of March 26, 2005, Cole has played 20 times for England,
mostly as a substitute. He was a squad member at Euro 2004, but
did not play.