Football journalist - @jacktwilkinsonFormer England international ended 20-year playing career on Tuesday
Last Updated: 17/11/18 11:51am2:46 Joe Cole reflects on his career following his recent retirement Joe Cole reflects on his career following his recent retirement
Joe Cole reflects on his retirement from professional football in an exclusive interview with Tubes from Soccer AM.
The former England, Chelsea and West Ham forward called time on his 20-year playing career on Tuesday at the age of 37.
"Time waits for no man," Cole, who last played for Tampa Bay Rowdies in the United States, told Sky Sports. "It was getting harder and harder to get out of bed. The mind wants to do it but the body was telling me that it was enough.
"I'm back over in England, I enjoyed my time in America and wouldn't change it for the world. But I'm back over here now ready for the next chapter.1:06 Former Chelsea striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has praised Joe Cole's 'magnificent' career after the former England international announced his retirement. Former Chelsea striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has praised Joe Cole's 'magnificent' career after the former England international announced his retirement.
"I've already been playing in the Power Leagues. I will always be involved in football in some capacity, I'm a football man, I've always been around football people and it's all I've known.
"It was just the right time (to retire). If I stayed out in America I could probably still play but it's time to draw a line in the sand and move on."
Cole, who earned 56 caps and scored 10 goals for England, won three Premier League titles and two FA Cups during his time at Chelsea.Cole won three Premier League titles at Chelsea
Asked if there was a level of regret in deciding to hang up his boots, he added: "You're always a little bit sad because it's something I've been doing since I was a little kid.
"But I've been lucky enough to do a job I absolutely love. Retirement is always there as a footballer, you know it's going to come.
"I'm prepared for it, I have plenty of things going, a great family to look after so I'm doing well."Cole earned 56 England caps and played at three World Cups
Cole was regarded as one of the most-talented prospects of his generation when he burst onto the scene as a 17-year-old at West Ham.
His retirement was met by an outpouring of tributes from the footballing community, which came as a surprise to Cole.
"All the messages I've been getting have been quite emotional, people saying well done or giving me a pat on the back - it's been unexpected," he said. "It's just strange to finally see that it's come to the end in football.Joe Cole signs up for Star Sixes
Joe Cole signs up for Star Sixes tournament in January
"All the messages from my peers have been special. As a player you want your team-mates to respect, so everything from the great players I played with and the fans have been special.
"I'm glad people enjoyed watching me play or playing with me."
With Cole at the end of his playing career, he was asked what advice he would give to budding young players starting their journey in football.
"Never forget yourself a little kid, and how much you wanted to play the game and how much it meant to you," he said.
"Football can make you cynical at times but it goes in a blink of an eye, make sure you cherish it and do yourself justice."Play Super 6
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The Reds steamrolled their opponents last term in a 4-3-3 system, but this time out the manager has opted for a more controlled approach.
This has seen him alternate between that formation and a new-look 4-2-3-1, with the latter typically seeing Firmino deployed in the No. 10 role with Salah moving up front.
It is questionable whether this gets the best out of two players who scored 71 goals between them in their previous roles in 2017/18.
But this seems to be the approach Klopp will keep faith in, and reacting to a series of polls on the This is Anfield accounts on Facebook and Twitter, Liverpool fans were largely agreed.
Of the 18,200 supporters to vote on Facebook, 79 percent deemed Salah to be at his best on the right wing, with this also backed by 81 percent of 7,866 voters on Twitter.
Interestingly, many voting for Salah to return to the flanks argued that this should largely be due to Firmino’s lack of efficiency in the No. 10, with Eamonn Hutchinson writing that “having him up front is killing” the Brazilian.
And unsurprisingly, a majority deemed Firmino’s best position to be as a No. 9, with 74 percent of 14,200 voters on Facebook and 79 percent of 4,015 on Twitter in agreement.
“One of the best false nines in the world,” Adam James Smith attested. “So underrated. The heartbeat of our attack.”
Daniel Lee suggested Xherdan Shaqiri should move into his role in the 4-2-3-1, writing “if Shaq is being treated and rewarded like he should be, then he would be a starting 10 and Bobby does what he does best as a high-pressing 9.”
However, Lutendo Ragimana argued that Klopp could be reverting to the role that saw Firmino make his name at Hoffenheim, describing him as “a natural No. 10.”
“I’d rather he played No. 10 and we bought in a clinical striker,” wrote Ste Foston, looking to the transfer market.
“We need some creativity behind the front three and Bobby is smart enough for it.”
Klopp is unlikely to make any signings in January, with the manager widely expected to enjoy a quiet winter window, and this could see him stick with Firmino and Salah in their new roles.
Of course, the manager’s view is the most important, and it remains early days for the 4-2-3-1, but it’s clear supporters aren’t wholly convinced so far.
Trent Alexander-Arnold can cite personal experience when he describes Jürgen Klopp's man management style as 'perfect'.
The Liverpool boss has overseen the young defender’s fairytale rise through the ranks since handing him a first-team debut in October 2016.
In little over two years since that breakthrough night for Alexander-Arnold, the Academy graduate has scored in front of the Kop, represented his boyhood club in a Champions League final, been to the World Cup, played 59 games for the Reds and, as of Thursday, netted for England at Wembley.
Liverpool coach Pepijn Lijnders, another influential figure in the Scouser’s development, has insisted in the past that players are ‘a product of their environment’.
Alexander-Arnold agrees, and the 20-year-old has highlighted the honesty of Klopp’s approach at Melwood as crucial to his personal progress – and that of the team.
“He demands a lot from his players and that’s why he’s had a lot of success throughout his career. We’ve all bought into the ideas that he’s brought into the team,” said the No.66, speaking in the latest edition of the official Liverpool FC magazine.
“I think with the right mentality the team can go a long way and with the mindset that he’s brought we’ve pushed forward over the past three years and I’m sure we can move even further ahead in the next few years.
“He obviously wants the best from everyone in his team and I like his honesty. He’s always straight with you and that’s good because you know what he’s saying is the truth, so you really listen to it and apply it to yourself.
“I think the way he goes about it is perfect. He knows when to be harsh with someone and when to put his arm around someone and help them along in tough times. I’ve experienced that a few times and it’s helped me to keep on performing.”
Alexander-Arnold provided the assist for Liverpool’s opening goal last time out, acting as the middle man in a lightning quick breakaway against Fulham that saw Mohamed Salah strike 14 seconds after the visitors had an effort disallowed.
It was his second set-up of the season and though Klopp has not established any particular objectives for him, the player is eager to increase his numbers this term.
“The manager hasn’t set me any specific targets but as a full-back you need to get goals and assists in the modern game,” he said.
“Without him saying it, I think we both know that full-backs need to do that, so let’s say my own target would be more goals, more assists and more contributions going forward as well as helping the team to keep more clean sheets.”
Alexander-Arnold’s first ever Reds goal came from a direct free-kick during the Champions League play-off first leg at Hoffenheim in August 2017.
His technique from set-pieces has been evident ever since and his maiden assist of this campaign was from a corner for Joel Matip’s headed finish against Southampton.
It’s a skill Alexander-Arnold puts the hours in to hone, not least because he believes it can give him a marginal edge in the face of fierce competition for places.
“I work hard on practising my free-kicks and dead-ball deliveries,” he said. “I think if you want to master something you’ve got to practise and practise and when I get the opportunity, I always do.
“The rest of the squad work hard on parts of their play, too. There’s a lot of competition for places in this team and I think that the different things you can bring will get you in or out of a team really.
“So if set-pieces are one of your strengths then maybe you’ll get picked ahead of someone else. I’ve always thought that way and I’ve always tried to add things to my game. A lot of the lads are practising the free-kicks hard as well and they’re keeping everyone on their toes.
“Everyone’s got their own technique but the more you practise the more you find out about yourself and how you hit the ball. That comes with practice and maybe with watching other people take them as well.”
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Now in his third loan spell away from Liverpool, Harry Wilson is shining at Derby County this season, with the winger taking up an expected new role.
Many expected Wilson to take up a squad role under Jurgen Klopp this campaign, but the decision was made early into pre-season that he would spend another term away from Merseyside.
Under new management in Frank Lampard, the Rams announced a double signing in mid-July, with Wilson presented alongside Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount.
This has proved some of the best business the promotion hopefuls made in the summer, scoring nine and assisting four between them so far, with Wilson netting four and laying on two in 14 games.
The Welshman signed a new five-year contract with Liverpool before heading out, and with Klopp heaping praise on him in October there is a big possibility he will feature next season.
But how can Wilson’s progress with Derby influence his future at Anfield, and is he ready for the Premier League?
I think the feeling was that we’d signed a very good player.
I doubt that this would have been the consensus without his successful spell at Hull last season but with the amount of competition for his signature it was deemed as a bit of a coup.He’s clearly a popular figure at Pride Park, but how important has he been?
He’s becoming more important as the weeks go by.
Injury disrupted the start of his season but as the weeks and games have gone by he’s begun to make more of an impact on the side.
It’s fair to say that he’s one of the first names on the team sheet at the moment and he’s certainly getting game time at Pride Park.What role has he played under Lampard so far?
His role has changed over the season.
Initially he started out on the flanks but soon got injured which disrupted his start.
He then came back into the side with an injury to Craig Bryson meaning that there was a spot free in the centre and over the past few weeks he’s played there alongside Mason Mount with Tom Huddlestone holding.
Going forward this has really suited him, he’s found pockets of space behind the opponents’ midfield and has been able to impact games from there.
It’ll be interesting to see where he plays for the remainder of the season but he’s a good option in midfield.We’ve all seen those free-kicks, but what else has stood out from Wilson?
His movement and balance are really good.
He has a low centre of gravity and with his ability to carry the ball well he’s been really effective in transition from defence to attack.
He links up well with Mount as well. Good players respond well to other good players and the two are striking up a good partnership.
They both live together, which probably helps on some level as well.This is the second time he’s shone in the Championship – but is he good enough for Liverpool?
That’s a tough question.
If he can maintain his good form for the remainder of the season and stay fit then a spell in the Premier League is obviously the next step.
The more likely scenario is that he spends another season out on loan for a side in the Premier League.
With the level that Liverpool are now operating at, it seems difficult to see him breaking into their squad, but he’s responded to every challenge that’s been thrown at him so far so who knows?
Last Updated: 16/11/18 9:17pmAlex Oxlade-Chamberlain is currently recovering from a serious knee injury
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain says he would "love to make an appearance" before the end of the season as he recovers from a serious knee injury.
The midfielder was injured during Liverpool's Champions League semi-final first-leg victory over Roma in April and no timescale for his return has been issued publicly.
Oxlade-Chamberlain revealed he has restarted ball work as part of his rehabilitation, telling Liverpool's website: "The next target for me is to build up more in the gym and get back towards being able to run outside again.
"I've already started passing the ball around inside which feels really good. When you get outside, you feel a lot closer. It will probably get harder again when that happens.Oxlade-Chamberlain was injured against Roma last season
"I'd love to be able to make an appearance at least before the end of the season - probably more mentally to prove that I can do it. Then have a good pre-season and start fresh next season."
Oxlade-Chamberlain also paid tribute to Jurgen Klopp for his patience and support during his extended period out of the team.
"He's been massive for me. Whenever I see him, he's got a smile on his face and is really positive and keeps me in his thoughts," he said.
"When he talks about the team he'll mention me, which is obviously really nice, especially when the boys are doing so well.
"The important thing is he's giving me time. He said 'we know how long this is going to be, don't worry about it'.Play Super 6
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New documentary ‘Make Us Dream’ gives a revealing insight behind the 17-year Liverpool career of Steven Gerrard. Chris Williams was the premiere on Thursday night.
“Football is not about turning up and playing, it’s about dealing with everything that comes with it.”
Steven Gerrard’s own words as he narrates a remarkable career against the backdrop of iconic scenes from 18 years in football—all but one of them in red.
This is not a ‘feel-good movie’. The journey taken is a dark one that reflects the highest of highs while also probing into the ex-Liverpool captain’s lowest of lows.
Although, at the end, there is a feeling that Gerrard has unfinished business at Liverpool—a destiny that will eventually lead him back to the hallowed turf at Anfield.
His story is one of total commitment to a club he joined at eight years old, but it closely charts just how close the Huyton-born superstar came to joining Chelsea.
Liverpool’s standoffish approach almost deprived them of his services, but ultimately it was his personal bond to the club that kept him in red for another 10 years.
What is intriguing is Gerrard’s personal journey. From a working-class estate in Liverpool’s suburbs to a Champions League winner, all laid bare for the viewer.
Even more insightful is the now-38-year-old’s quest for a Premier League winner’s medal and ‘Make Us Dream’ approaches this head on. It doesn’t shy away from any angle or incident.
Just how close Gerrard came to joining Chelsea in the summer of 2005 is well known; what isn’t—or wasn’t wide knowledge until now—was the view from the player’s side.
How the lure of Jose Mourinho was ultimately undone by a conversation in which Paul Gerrard, his father, convinced him that he’d never be loved like he was at Liverpool and that “these (Liverpool fans) were his people.”
Gerrard himself spoke on the aftermath of the ‘almost’ move:
“Nine out of 10 people might argue I would have made more money, won more trophies. But them people are not me.
“They’re not in my city and they don’t have that connection with my club. That’s why I’m the one in 10.”
Rafa Benitez doesn’t feature in the film for long, but his cameo opens up what Liverpool was like under his leadership, and how the players—especially Gerrard—coped with his coldness.
It did open up a question to those watching of how Gerrard would have fared under a manager like Jurgen Klopp; a true man-manager.
But for all the craving of nurture the Liverpool No. 8 longed for, there was a feeling that the distance shown by Benitez only fuelled his captain to be better—to drive him forward and show everyone just what he was capable of.
One of the underlying themes throughout the film was Gerrard’s burning personal mission to lift Liverpool back to the top, at a time when the club looked incapable of challenging off the field during the tenure of Hicks and Gillett.
How the expectation within him—and that of the fans—became an almost unbearable burden that drove Gerrard to take his body to the absolute limit.
Encapsulated in its fullness are the hours before that fateful game against Chelsea in 2014, where the Liverpool captain asked for an epidural—as well as a volley of painkillers to see him through.
There is no avoidance or skirting around the ‘slip’ or the run-in to the season that almost delivered Gerrard his most-wanted possession.
It is presented in all its infamy and especially how it left the player empty. “He didn’t speak afterwards,” wife Alex remarked.
As dark as ‘Make Us Dream’ gets it is filled with joyful moments, and not just Istanbul.
There is the coming of age surrounded by friends such as Jamie Carragher and Michael Owen as well as early nostalgic glimpses of Gerrard’s talent.
Tearing through the midfield as a tender teen, home videos capture the ability that eventually went on to inspire thousands on the terraces and countless more millions around the world.
‘Make Us Dream’ will be available on Amazon Prime from November 23.
Kenny Dalglish reflected on the ‘humbling’ experience of being knighted on Friday, as the King became a Sir at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
Dalglish’s honour was announced back in June, with the 67-year-old acknowledged for his services to football, charity and the city of Liverpool.
This was part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours, and Dalglish received his knighthood from Prince Charles on Friday morning.
Beyond his considerable achievements on the field with the Reds, the King was recognised for his immense support for both the Hillsborough families and The Marina Dalglish Appeal.
With the latter, he has helped raise over £10 million towards improving cancer care across Merseyside.
And in the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster in 1989, Dalglish became a pillar for those who lost loved ones, helping in the long battle to bring justice to the 96.
Speaking to ITV on Friday, Dalglish paid tribute to the Hillsborough families, and explained how he was left feeling “humble” after being honoured.
“They also stood beside us many, many times,” he said.
“We only did for them what I would expect you to do for somebody.
“They helped us on many occasions, unfortunately it was in better circumstances, maybe during a game, so when their time came it was not much to ask, that we could turn into being the supporter.
“It just came naturally to everybody. We never did it for any outside accolades. We did it because we thought it was right.”
Author Kazuo Ishiguro and Professor Simon Schama were among those also knighted, while Professor Mary Beard and actress Emma Thompson received a damehood.
Bournemouth striker Jermaine Defoe, Kick It Out chief executive Roisin Wood and director of child protection in sport Anne Tiivas were all honoured with OBEs.
Speaking to Open Goal, Robertson has revealed the superb text message he received from Klopp upon learning he had been named Scotland’s new captain:
“I text him saying ‘just so you know I’m getting the captaincy’. It was just out of respect because I didn’t want him finding out off of someone else.
“I said ‘thanks very much for all you’ve done, I’m going to be Scotland captain, I hope it can be a success’ all that sort of stuff.
“And then he just text back in big capital letters ‘You are the real Scottish Braveheart now’!
“I gave him a thumb emoji and he gave me the wee dance emoji. Brilliant.”
This just sums up the brilliance of Klopp and his man-management skills.Moreno Wants Liverpool Exit
Moreno has only managed one start for the Reds in 2018/19, and just three appearances in total, with Robertson the undisputed first-choice left-back.
At 26, the Spaniard needs to be featuring more regularly, with a return to Sevilla mooted in recent weeks.
However, Philippe Coutinho would reportedly like to see him at Barcelona, while Atletico Madrid and Villarreal are also said to be interested.Barcelona Chief Hints at Dembele Stay
Ousmane Dembele may have been linked with a switch Liverpool in January, along with a host of other clubs, but his future may still lie with Barcelona.
The club’s general manager, Pep Segura, has told La Cadena SER that improvements are required from the player, but he is going nowhere:
“There is no problem with Dembele. He is very young and has never had to make an effort like the one he is doing now to adapt to Barca’s game.
“We recognise that it is hard for him and he also recognises it, but we’re working to change this situation as quickly as possible.
“Yes, we had a meeting, just like I met with three other representatives, but it’s normal, it’s part of my job, they’re natural things.”
Not too much should be read into these comments, given the recent reports suggesting he will leave, and it will be interesting to see how things develop.Wijnaldum Says Winning is Everything
Gini Wijnaldum is not getting too carried away with Liverpool’s excellent defensive record this season, with results the most important thing.
“It is good to hear, of course, but we are not playing for statistics—we are playing to win games and at the end of the season, we hope we can win something,” Wijnaldum told LiverpoolFC.com.
“Of course it is something good when you don’t concede goals because that makes it easier to win games and also suggests that we have defended well but I think you also need a little bit of luck.
“We saw that when we played against Man City and they had the penalty near the end but put it over the bar.”Trent’s Star Showing Highlighted
Trent Alexander-Arnold enjoyed a night to remember for England on Thursday, scoring his first-ever senior goal for his country.
Not only that, the 20-year-old was given the Man of the Match award in the Three Lions’ 3-0 win over the USA, with post-match statistics outlining his influence.
According to WhoScored, Alexander-Arnold produced two key passes and made five tackles and two clearances, as well as enjoying 111 touches—more than any other England player.
The youngster has been going through a slight dip in form for Liverpool this season, so this will hopefully have done him the world of good.