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Joe Cole the piano man proving a key player for Carlo Ancelotti at Chelsea

30 Oct 2009 08:29:59

Joe Cole the piano man proving a key player for Carlo Ancelotti at Chelsea

If scoring goals equals entertainment then Carlo Ancelotti has thepuzzle cracked. With his team averaging one every 20 minutes in thelast three games, he is firmly on course to satisfy his very demandingboss. Ancelotti's brief was to give Chelsea's team an identity, whichroughly translates into winning a major trophy while thrilling ownerRoman Abramovich. There have been blips at Wigan and Aston Villa, but giddy tremorscaused by the recent goal glut have been followed by the wave ofexcitement caused by Joe Cole's return into a role which seemstailor-made for his talents. Back to his best: Cole tricks hisway past Bolton's Fabrice Muamba Cole excelled on his first Premier League start of the season, a 5-0 romp against Blackburn last Saturday, watched by Abramovich, but he was even better in the Carling Cup against Bolton on Wednesday when he conjured many chances, albeit against feeble opposition. His trickery and invention balance beautifully with the tireless work ethic he adopted to force his way into Jose Mourinho's thinking and the muscle packed on during his recent absence with a cruciate knee ligament injury. With his agent waiting for a call to finalise the details of the new contract he expects to sign very soon and England manager Fabio Capello monitoring his recovery closely, Cole has timed his run well. 'After eight months out it is not easy to play like Joe has in these last two games,' said Ancelotti. 'This means he has worked very hard to rest his injury and arrived to play in good condition.' November promises to be a significant month. Not only will Cole celebrate his 28th birthday, but he could commit the rest of his career to Chelsea and be recalled to the England squad for a friendly against Brazil in Qatar. Precisely where he plays in Capello's team is another question but he will get a chance and will take encouragement from the fact that his own Chelsea future seemed uncertain when Ancelotti deployed a midfield diamond to maximise Frank Lampard's goal instinct at the tip. Comeback kid: The Chelsea boss hailed Cole as a 'genius' on his return from injury There seemed no place until Ancelotti recognised Lampard was far more effective playing deeper, a switch that opened up the natural place for Cole to operate. His vision, touch and creative instinct will flourish within this muscular team and his lack of pace will be protected inside the unit. Chelsea possess incredible powerhouse footballers like Didier Drogba, Michael Ballack, Lampard and Michael Essien, predators like Nicolas Anelka and defensive bravehearts like John Terry and Petr Cech. For fantasy they have only Deco - and, effortlessly silky though he is, the jury remains out on his suitability to English football - and Cole, who wears the No 10 but has rarely been trusted as the playmaker. Until now. The great Hungarian Ferenc Puskas is credited with describing football as a game as one for artists and artisans. 'The artists are like piano players, the artisans carry the piano,' said Puskas. Cole cannot ask for a more prestigious crew of piano carriers than this Chelsea squad with their fighting spirit, which will only be inspired further if their appeal against FIFA's transfer ban fails. Ancelotti has issues to work on. Not all opponents will be as generous as Blackburn and Bolton. Chelsea have lost their last two Premier League away games and the frailty they have defending set-pieces will be tested when they take on a full-strength Bolton again tomorrow at the Reebok. But if Cole cannot hit the right notes in this role in this team, will he ever? One factor not open to question is his attitude. Football is his priority, he has worked hard to get back in shape and will give everything to excel. 'A severe injury is a test of your character,' says Cole in the December FHM magazine. 'After you have an operation, your body just shuts down. All the nerves go to sleep. So right at the beginning, I was in doing pool work, having ice baths, having massages. You can see your movement improving by two per cent every week. 'It's important to be in and around the lads and enjoying myself, so I'm in from 10am until 4pm, six days a week. That might not sound much but it's all physical work. 'Most of my rehab was based around lunges and squats. But the sooner you get back on the pitch - even if you're only doing it at 10 per cent - the better. ' If you asked a concert pianist how he'd improve, he'd say by playing, not by running round a piano.' Puskas would no doubt agree.  Chelsea 4 Bolton 0: Blues ease into last eight with comfortable victoryJoe Cole's new contract a priority for Chelsea manager Carlo AncelottiPlane truth for Fabio: Seven places still to play for but who will be grounded? Chelsea 5 Blackburn 0: 'Genius' Cole is happy to be Chelsea's diamond geezer


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