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Villa complete signing of England international Cole

Junior Villans T&Cs Tuesday media watch [10.06.14 PM]: Reaction to Cole deal
Villa complete signing of England international Cole

Joe Cole insists "the fire is still burning" in him and that he feels "as excited now as I was as a 16-year-old lad going into my first season with West Ham" after agreeing a two-year deal to June 2016.

The 32-year-old attacking midfield player, capped 56 times for England in a career in which he has won three Premier League titles, three FA Cups and two League Cups in addition to reaching the final of the Champions League in 2008 with Chelsea, is Villa manager Paul Lambert's second summer signing following the arrival of defender Philippe Senderos last week.

That experience over a 16-year career in top-flight football is something Cole is determined to pass on to some of his younger team-mates and he admitted that he was sold on the move to Villa in an instant.

Cole said to AVTV: "I'm really excited. It all happened really quickly, I got a call maybe a week or 10 days ago and it just felt like it was a really exciting place to come at this moment.

"This is a massive club and there's a massive opportunity for the club to push on. That was the main factor. I spoke to the gaffer and we have similar views on football. He didn't need to sell the club but he explained what the view is for the future and, like I said, that was the main thing. When I spoke to the manager I knew I'd be signing.

"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 Aston Villa.

"So far I've been lucky enough to have a really good career but there's still a lot more I want to achieve. The fire is still burning in me. I want to do well. I want to play at the highest level and win things still and this club fits. With the young squad we've got here, we've had two seasons consolidating and now we're going to want to push on, which I'm very excited about. When I signed for Chelsea, that felt right, when I went to Lille, that felt 100% right and now this feeling is on a par to when I went to those clubs.

"Playing against Villa over the last two seasons and watching them, when you've got young players at that age, first of all to get them all playing at their best at the same time is very tricky. They're going to be inconsistent and the manager has got to take credit for what he's done there.

"I think quality players like Andi Weimann, Christian Benteke and Fabian Delph, amongst all of the others I could name, have come in and what will happen is when they've played 50 games they'll get better. Then when they've played 100 games they'll get better again. Then when they've played 150, and so on. That's just normal, every player in the world is like that because you improve as you play.

"There is just so much potential at the club to kick on and I think we're only going to get better. That's another thing, when I talked to the manager he said I would be playing in a more central position and, having those fast players in attack and around me, I feel like I can supply them with the bullets and get them the ball in the final third. They're good players to play with because speed is a must now in the game, particularly in the Premier League. I've watched the development of Fabian over the past two years and he's a terrific player. He finished the season just gone so strongly. There's pace and power all over the team and I really think we can kick on.

"Villa Park has actually been a very difficult place for me to come and play as an away player. I remember at Chelsea we had a particularly bad record there and I don't think West Ham's was much better either. I know how difficult it can be for opposition players and we need to get back to making it that fortress. If we get a good start we know the fans will get right behind us and it's a good place to play. I think I've only scored one goal at Villa Park, in the quarter final of the cup, so it's a tough place to play. I'm glad I'm on the home side now.

"The best bit of advice you get is that if you're a young man in any walk of life you try and look at the people who've done it before. All of the ex-players, all of the professionals that I've ever spoken to in my career say, 'Enjoy it while it lasts because it goes quick, take everything you can out of it.' That's one thing I have done and one thing I'm proud to say is that I've enjoyed every day of my career, every moment of it and I want to squeeze as much out of it as I can. I'm as excited now as I was as a 16-year-old lad going into my first season with West Ham."

Cole was born in Paddington before moving to Somers Town in central London. He came through the youth system at West Ham United, playing in the same team as future fellow England international Michael Carrick. He made his first team debut for the Hammers aged 17 in an FA Cup third round game against Swansea City.

Cole made 150 appearances in all competitions in his first stint at Upton Park, scoring 13 goals. He was made club captain in 2002-03 at the age of 21 and was awarded the Club's player of the season.

He joined Chelsea for £6.6m in 2003. Following the arrival of Jose Mourinho as manager in 2004, he became a key part of the squad that won the Barclays Premier League twice in a row. In his time at Chelsea, he won the Premier League three times, the FA Cup three times, the League Cup twice and the Community Shield twice, as well as being voted Chelsea's player of the season in 2008. He turned out 280 times for the Blues in all competitions, scoring 39 goals.

He moved to Liverpool as a free agent in 2010 and made 32 appearances in all competitions for the Reds. He moved to Lille on loan in 2011 and helped the defending champions finish third, qualifying for the Champions League. He made 43 appearances for the French team and scored nine goals.

Following his return to Liverpool, Cole played 10 games before leaving to re-join his first club, West Ham. He made 30 more appearances in two seasons at Upton Park before leaving for the second time.

Cole has won 56 England caps and has played at three World Cups. He has scored 10 times for England, including a memorable volley against Sweden in the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

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AVFC Official
By @AVFCOfficial 10th June 2014
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