Cole has never been one of Wembley's favourite sons and has often been singled out for booing during home games.
However, he has undoubtedly been one of England's better performers over the last 12 months, a fact that has been recognised with his status in the present voting amongst fans on the official FA website, which sees him only just behind leader Steven Gerrard.
Fan-tastic: England supporters are getting behind Chelsea defender Cole (right)
Merely being in contention is a positive for a player who has had such a poor public profile.
And if he was to win, it would signal a dramatic reversal in the long-held antagonism for the 30-year-old, in addition to crowning an excellent year, when he joined Kenny Sansom as England's most-capped full-back on 89 appearances.
By common consent, Cole and Gerrard were the only England players to emerge from the World Cup debacle with their reputations still intact.
Gerrard was involved in all 12 matches during the calendar year, with Cole missing friendlies against Egypt and France due to injury and Mexico in May because he was given extra time off due to Chelsea's appearance in the FA Cup final.
Now in its eighth year, Gerrard is aiming to join Frank Lampard and Wayne Rooney as a double winner, having previously scooped the award in 2007.
David Beckham and Owen Hargreaves have also won the prize, so Cole is bidding to become the first defender to finish top, with voting closing at midnight on January 31.
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