Thomas Hitzlsperger exclusive: Joe Cole can thrive in playmaker role
Former midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger believes Joe Cole can bring some spark to the claret and blues as the team's attacking playmaker.
Hitzlsperger came up against ex-Chelsea ace Cole numerous times - and rates him very highly.
Boss Paul Lambert spoke at length during the last January transfer window of his desire to bring in a No.10, who can open up defences at will with a silky arsenal of passes.
Hitzlsperger believes Cole can be that man.
He said: "The Joe Cole I remember is a special player, an exceptional player, particularly during those year when he was at Chelsea.
"He still has in it in him, definitely, in my opinion. I think he can be a big success at Villa.
"Look at his football CV for a start - he has won the Premier League three times, three FA Cups, two League Cups and over 50 caps for England.
"I think playing as that No.10 is his best role - and it's the position he's been craving. Paul Lambert was looking for a No.10 and Joe Cole wants to play as a No.10 - so it's the perfect match.
"I believe he will go to Villa with plenty to look forward - a new challenge, a new club and a manager who wants to play him in the position he wants to play in. He must be excited.
"Just the name Joe Cole will boost the place too. The young lads will see him come into the training ground and be uplifted by that. He's a recognised, successful footballer who has done huge amounts in the game.
"The young lads will feel plenty of motivation training and playing with someone who has starred at the very highest level of football.
"He will be fantastic for Villa - I have no doubt about that.
"The experience he brings is a key factor. I had great admiration for Paul Lambert with his philosophy of bringing in young players and developing them. Now is the next stage - bringing in a little more experience for the good of the group.
"Saying all that, there's no point having an older guy in there with bags of experience if he's not delivering for the team. Joe knows that he needs to get back to his best too. He will be aware of that, I'm sure.
"He has to prove himself all over again but I am sure he will be really motivated and I am sure he will prove himself. He's that sort of football - someone who takes the business of being a footballer very seriously."
He added: "It will be a dream for Gabby and Andi - but a dream for Joe too.
"Who wouldn't want to play with these strikers - quick and skilful - and obviously there's Christian and Libor to come back later too.
"Villa have great pace up front and now, with the addition of Joe, someone with great technical ability to feed them those great balls."
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