England midfielder Joe Cole believes his best days are ahead of him as he starts to consider his club future, and admits finding a manager who “loves” him will be key to his decision.
Cole became a free agent on July 1 after his Chelsea contract expired, with a host of clubs now seemingly vying for his signature.
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp, Cole’s former boss at West Ham, revealed earlier this week that he had spoken to the player, with Arsenal among those also reportedly interested.
Quoted in several Sunday newspapers, the 28-year-old said: “I’m thinking about my own future now. I want to play in a more central position, like I did at West Ham.
“I feel I’ve got a lot more still to offer and my best days are ahead of me.
“I want the right kind of manager – a manager who loves me, who will put me in the team.
“At Chelsea there were players who could have two or three dreadful games before they were left out. I only had to have a dreadful 20 minutes and I was out.”
Meanwhile, Cole believes the influx of foreigners into the Barclays Premier League is to blame for England’s poor World Cup campaign.
The 28-year-old, who saw just 44 minutes’ action in South Africa, reckons big-name arrivals from overseas are preventing young English talent from breaking through at club level.
“When I came through at West Ham our league was probably the fifth best league in the world,” he said.
“A group of us came through at the same time and we were able to do that because of how things were in England then.
“Now, though, the Premier League is the best league in the world. That means it is much tougher for kids to break through.
“Maybe we’re paying the price for having the best league in the world.”
Cole also backed up Franz Beckenbauer’s assessment that there is too much “kick and rush” in English football.
“Every team I have played for – from West Ham to Chelsea to England – want to hit the front players as early as possible,” he said.
“You won’t get away with that at international level. It’s about technique, keeping control of the ball, passing and moving.
“Chelsea do that more than other teams in the Premier League, and that’s why we’ve been successful, and it’s the same with Manchester United and Arsenal.
“I was brought up that way and that’s always been the way forward.
“Maybe it’s time to really look at how we are teaching kids to play. Is there talent coming through? To be honest, I don’t know.”