Cole raring to go

18 July 2011 02:00

Liverpool midfielder Joe Cole feels fit and ready to fight for his place after returning from the club's mini-tour to the Far East.

The 29-year-old believes he has benefited from the longest summer break he has ever had and after featuring in friendly wins over Chinese side Guangdong and a Malaysia XI he is looking forward to the start of the domestic season.

Cole's future seemed in doubt at the end of last season as he had become a bit-part player under manager Kenny Dalglish with most of his brief appearances coming as substitute. But after a morale-boosting trip to Asia, Cole is eager to build on what he has done in his pre-season so far, saying: "I just want to get started. I feel great physically. I'm happy with how I'm performing."

He added: "There are four weeks until the start of the Premier League so there's still some time to go. I'm enjoying it.

"I want to take it day by day. Training has been good. I want to get myself fit and get a little bit better every day."

First team coach Steve Clarke, who worked with Cole at Stamford Bridge, believes the player still has plenty to offer Liverpool despite a disappointing first season.

"At the end of last season he was not getting in the team because the team were playing well," he said.

"He's looked good in both matches we've played so far and Joe Cole is a top international player, he's got a big contribution to make in the future.

"He's the same Joe Cole (he coached at Chelsea) just a couple of years older and a little bit wiser.

"He's always had a fantastic attitude, works hard in training and comes in with a smile on his face because he wants to do well. It has been difficult for him because he's not been involved but he keeps working hard and when he gets his chance it is up to him to take that chance."

Source: PA