Chelsea assistant coach Ray Wilkins has revealed that Joe Cole will be making his season debut tonight in the position that he has always craved. As the front man of Carlo Ancelotti’s diamond system, just behind the two strikers, Cole will have the “fantasy” role that has always been his dream.
“Joe calls it the sausage roll, in the hole,” said Wilkins. “That’s Joe, he even asked if he could play in the sausage roll when we said he’d be starting and it’s nice to see he’s bubbling and firing about it.
“I think Joe understands we’re not playing with wide players at the moment but with people inside and he’s thrilled to be involved after such a long time out.
“After the reconstruction he’s gone through, his knee is far better prepared for football now and he’s much stronger. Yes, he’ll be a bit ring-rusty and there were times when even he was down mentally.
“Joe offers that bit of fantasy, something different that can give us the edge in games. He can go both sides, plays a pass, and his work ethic is quite special.
“The other thing is that the World Cup is a lovely carrot for him. He can provide something, most certainly, and a fully fit Joe Cole will be very much around the England squad.”
Ancelotti said: “I think Joe Cole is a very important player for us.
“He has lot of technical quality and we need this quality. He’s an English player and knows very well the atmosphere in the team. He’s well respected by the other players. If he stays fit and well, and I think he will, he’s an important player for us.”
With Yuri Zhirkov also lined up to make his debut for the Blues tonight, it could be a very interesting game.