Joe Cole admits the promise of a central midfield role persuaded him to sign a two-year contract with Aston Villa.
The former England international became a free agent when he was released by West Ham United at the end of last season, bringing an end to his second spell at the club at which he initially developed through their famed youth system. Cole was linked with a potential move to the United States to play in their Major League Soccer, but remaining in the Premier League was his priority.
And the 32-year-old has achieved that aim after putting pen to paper on a contract which will tie him to Villa for the next two seasons. Although the Midlands club struggled again last term, Cole insists he is excited by the challenge which awaits him, and has revealed that Paul Lambert’s promise to play him in his favoured central midfield role was the key factor in his decision to join.
“I’ve signed a two-year deal and I am very excited about it, coming to a massive club. I’m very excited about it and can’t wait to get going,” he said. “I spoke to the gaffer and we agree on a lot of things in football and playing in a central midfield role sold it for me. I’ll be coming here and I’ll be learning too. Obviously I’ll bring my experience to the squad but you still learn every day and I want to learn.
“I know I’ll learn from the manager, I’ll learn from other players here and going forward together we want to get the best results for the club. It will be exciting to play with the young players here. I’ll be trying to keep hold of the ball, make some goals and score some goals. It’s a great challenge. I can’t wait to get started.”
After leaving the Hammers following his first spell at the club in 2003, he went on to help Chelsea win three Premier League titles, three FA Cups and two League Cups. A move to Liverpool in 2010 was a huge disappointment, and he spent the 2011-12 campaign on loan in France with Lille before eventually returning to East London in January 2013. He scored 10 goals in 56 appearances for England, and featured in the World Cup Finals of 2002, 2006 and 2010.
Cole becomes Villa’s second signing of the season, following Philippe Senderos, another free transfer who arrived upon the expiry of his contract at Fulham. Jordan Bowery, meanwhile, has left the club for Championship new-boys Rotherham United, who have paid a club record fee to take the 22-year-old striker.