Why Anfield for Joe Cole?

Does the arrival of Joe Cole at Anfield, as announced on Monday, signal the first part of Roy Hodgson’s rebuilding work? Or is it possible that Cole is being signed to fill a gap about to be created by the departure of Steven Gerrard?

One thing that is for sure is that it is a major coup for Roy Hodgson. There was one or two discontenting voices coming from the Anfield faithfull at the appointment of Hodgson. A signing of this calibre should appease any doubters that Hodgson isn’t a big enough name to attract the star players to Anfield.

Should Gerrard go, then Cole should be the ideal replacement for him. Or if Gerrard stays, then Hodgson could have a top class attacking trio of the two Englishmen and Fernando Torres, should he remain at Anfield too. And the signs are that he will, as yet there is no reason to suggest Torres wants out.

It is also hard too see why Cole would have signed if Gerrard and Torres where about too leave, and he would surely have got a commitment from Roy Hodgson that there is no plans to cash in on their two most valuable assets before he signed.

Questions about Cole continue to be asked. Why didn’t Ancelotti or Capello seem to rate him high enough to make him a regular in either of their teams? Also Jose Mourinho didn’t seem to trust him enough. Ferguson and Wenger also didn’t appear too keen to sign him. Could all these managers be wrong?

For me, I think that Cole has been unfairly pigeon holed by certain managers as this bloke who is handing to come off the bench and change things, or someone who dosen’t do his defensive duties too well.

Although his problems have mainly been with foreign managers, it looks more of a perennial English issue to me. In a way similar to people like Hoddle or Le Tissier, Cole seems to be a victim of his talent.

Instead of being given the freedom to express himself he is bogged down playing in roles where he is expected to do his defensive duties and is not given the license to do what he does best, and just be an attacking force.

The sort of player that a team like Holland or Spain would pick and ask him to do what he is good at. Rather than the English policy of selecting a player and asking him to play a role that is not suited to him.

Hopefully Hodgson has a clear role for Joe, and that his signing is because Cole likes Hodgson’s plans and will find himself playing in his preferred role. If Cole could really come of age and be the player we all believe he can be, not only will it be good for Liverpool, but England could also prosper from it.

I really hope that Roy Hodgson is a success at Liverpool as it is about time an end was put to this myth that if the big clubs need a new manager they have to look abroad.

There are some good English coaches around, but with the instant success formula needed in the Premier League no big clubs are prepared to take a chance on them. And as a result of that we now have a foreigner making a mess of the national team.

So come on Roy Hodgson and Joe Cole, lets prove the doubters wrong, and show them that the English are good enough!

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It’s the Germans again

England’s reward for scraping through the group stages is a Sunday showdown with old foes Germany. It was a better performance from England today, but they will have to up their game to get past the well drilled Germans in the last 16.

Despite only beating Slovenia 1-0, England could really have had four or five. I thought they looked very anxious before Defoe gave them the lead after 22 minutes, it’s amazing what a decent cross can do for a team, isn’t it Aaron Lennon and Shaun Wright-Phillips!

In the end I suppose we have to give Capello credit, his two tactical changes worked as they both combined to make and score the goal. Capello even showed he is prepared to be flexible with his team, when he brought Jo Cole on for Rooney in the 72 minute and played Cole off the front man.

One negative though, is the decision to still leave Gerrard stuck out on the left. Although the skipper had a better game today, I still believe you have to play your best players in their best positions, unleashing Gerrard in a more attcking role would suit him better.

The bookmakers make England the marginal favourites at 17/10 with William Hill, Germany are 15/8 with Totesport and the Draw is 23/10 with Ladbrokes.

After what was a pretty crap non entertaining group, I now can’t wait for Sunday.

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