Cole fit and hungry for cup glory

14 May 2010 06:39
Joe Cole has been hailed as Chelsea's fittest player on the eve of the FA Cup final - providing a timely boost for club and country.[LNB] Cole has been named in Fabio Capello's initial 30-man squad for the World Cup finals in South Africa next month but still has to persuade the Italian he is worth a place in the final 23-man party.[LNB]Cole is determined to make the June 1 cut after enduring a frustrating season with the Premier League champions.[LNB]The midfielder has not played regularly for Chelsea since returning from a knee injury in September but he insists that the lack of game time means he is in the perfect condition to make a huge impact in the finals.[LNB]"We did the fitness tests at Chelsea on Thursday and I am the fittest player in the squad," declared Cole.[LNB]"It's been a long hard season and some of the guys have played 50 games. I'm fresh and hungry. I just want to get out there.[LNB]"I'm looking to be on the plane, that's the goal. Once I'm on the plane I'll look to get in the starting 11 and once I'm in it I will look to win it."[LNB]Cole was one of England's best performers at the 2006 World Cup, scoring a stunning volley in the 2-2 draw with Sweden, and is desperate to add to his 53 caps.[LNB]"I've been there and done it at international level, I know what it's all about and I'm quite proud of my England career so far," said Cole.[LNB]"He [Capello] knows what I can do. It is hard to play as well as you like when you're playing 20 minutes here, 45 there.[LNB]"Maybe I've been trying a bit too hard at times but I have been applying myself well in the last few months and maybe he [Capello] looked at that.[LNB]"I'm just happy to be there. I'm excited like everyone else about the World Cup."[LNB]Cole goes into the FA Cup final insisting Chelsea must not be complacent against Pompey.[LNB]The England midfielder still has a lot of respect for Pompey boss Avram Grant, who took Chelsea to the Champions League final in 2008.[LNB]"I am very fond of Avram," said Cole.[LNB]"He is a great manager. Maybe when he took the job over, coming in after a very popular manager in Jose Mourinho, made it very difficult for him.[LNB]"But he proved himself here and took us within a whisker of winning the Champions League - better than any other manager has done at Chelsea so far.[LNB]"What he's done at Portsmouth is remarkable with all the turmoil that's going on, the players there really seem to have responded to him."[LNB]Cole refuses to talk about his own situation, with his contract set to expire at the end of the season.[LNB]Asked if his future remained at Chelsea, Cole replied: "The way I'm seeing it, I'm focusing on the cup final."

Source: Team_Talk