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Last Updated: Sunday, 19 March 2006, 11:12 GMT
Eriksson names Cole as top player
Joe Cole in action for Chelsea
I always believed in Joe Cole, even when he did too many tricks
Sven-Goran Eriksson
Sven-Goran Eriksson has named Chelsea's Joe Cole as his choice for the Premiership's Footballer of the Year.

The England coach does not have a vote but, asked who he would nominate, said: "Thierry Henry has been important for Arsenal in the last games, or Joe Cole.

"I put him on the bench many times but today is different - Cole is a complete football player.

"He knows when to do tricks and when not to. You should never take that away from him, it's one of his strengths."

Eriksson added that Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has played a significant part in Cole's development.

"I think Joe has been in the England squad every time if he is fit," said the England coach.

"I always believed in him, even when he did too many tricks and lost the ball sometimes where he shouldn't lose it, but I always believed in him because his talent is incredible.

During the last year, I think Joe is the most improved player
Sven-Goran Eriksson

"I think Mourinho has done a great job with him, absolutely fantastic.

"I don't know how he did it but I suppose it's a case of 'do what I want or you sit on the bench.'

"I didn't need to say that to Joe because I put him on the bench many times."

Cole has cemented a place in the England team, usually starting on the left side of midfield and Eriksson admitted that he had played a role in the player's development.

"During the last year, I think Joe is the most improved player," said Eriksson.

"He lives for football and when he was on the bench when Claudio Ranieri was the manager at Chelsea he was very frustrated.

"There was one day when reception at Soho Square told me 'Joe Cole is here and wants to have tea with you!'

"He didn't know what to do because he couldn't play for Chelsea and wanted to talk to me. I spoke to him and said 'keep going, work harder, dont think too much.'

"Since then he has done very well. And I know he wants to do a very good World Cup."

Eriksson praises Cole performance
02 Mar 06 |  Internationals


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