There is little doubt that Joe Cole is one of England's most technically-gifted players. Heralded as one of the country's hottest prospects at just 16, the Londoner is a product of the famous West Ham youth system that also produced the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Joe Cole and Frank Lampard.
Despite interest from other clubs in his early years, the attacking midfielder chose to cut his teeth at Upton Park and following youth team successes for both club and country, it wasn't long before Cole was making his debut for the Hammers' first team. He was honoured with the captain's armband during the 2002/03 season but his determination could not prevent West Ham's relegation to the Championship, paving the way for the club he supported as a boy, Chelsea, to snap him up for £6.6 million.
A regular England squad member since making his debut against Mexico in 2001, Cole is a natural talent, a tricky and versatile midfielder who has featured in England's last two FIFA World Cup™ squads. His creativity helped Chelsea to the Premier League title in 2004/05 and 2005/06, and his trickery has often lit up England's international campaigns.
Injury, however, has blighted his progress over the last two seasons. A cruciate ligament problem ruled him out of half of the 2008/09 campaign, and a series of niggling injuries having restricted his appearances for both club and country since then.