Oh Ashley, wherefore art thou?

Since his free transfer to AS Roma last season, Ashley Cole has struggled to regain the sort of form that made him one of the world’s best left-backs. For many years Cole was the standout player in an England team that massively underachieved. His national acclaim is somewhat miraculous given his nickname ‘Cashley’, and his turbulent relationship with Geordie sweetheart Cheryl Cole. However, it has been life after Cheryl that has seen Ashley’s career decline.

His move to Rome was viewed as courageous given the recent poor record of British defenders abroad. For example, Micah Richards, Jonathan Woodgate and Ian Harte have all failed in Europe. Unfortunately for Cole he did not reverse this trend, in fact he’s, arguably, fared the worst of the lot.

Cole was once considered to be the only full-back in the world who could stop Cristiano Ronaldo in full-flight. His man marking of the Portuguese wide-man during EURO 2004 and the World Cup in 2006 elevated him to national treasure status.

However 10 years on and Cole is a free agent after his contract with Roma was prematurely terminated. Much like ex-wife Cheryl, the Italian club have opted for a younger, fitter model to replace the former England international.

Cole, who famously nearly crashed his car whilst negotiating a new contract with Arsenal, must wish he had as many options now as he did back then;

“When I heard Jonathan Barnett (player’s agent) repeat the figure of £55K, I nearly swerved off the road. He (former Arsenal Director David Dein) is taking the piss Jonathan! I yelled down the phone. I was so incensed. I was trembling with anger. I couldn’t believe what I’d heard.” from his autobiography. No wonder he went quiet for a while.

Despite his torrid time In Italy I am surprised no one has taken a gamble on Cole. Perhaps his wage demands are too high, but surely one or two Premier League teams could benefit from his services. With the long-term injury to Luke Shaw, maybe Man United could reignite their interest in the fullback. Before his transfer to Roma, Cole was strongly linked with the Red Devils. The ex-Chelsea man has the sort of experience money can’t buy, so a free transfer is surely a no-brainer.

Nevertheless, Cole has had an illustrious career, his place as the greatest England left back is secure. I just hope that someone takes a gamble on this former great to ensure that his playing days don’t end on a whimper. Who knows, maybe an England recall is in the offering if the man can find a club, with Shaw injured and no obvious replacement, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility.

Clearly Cole is a sensitive chap judging by his autobiography. His retirement from international football was a response to his exclusion from the 2014 World Cup squad, and Cole’s squabbles have only occurred when he’s felt under-appreciated. So give the boy some love Man United. He could be good for one last hurrah.

Read more at: http://www.footballfancast.com/premier-league/chelsea/off-the-radar-chelsea-great-perfect-for-man-united#kzxYEpl26cUX2QkS.99


About James Bayley

Email: bayleyjames41@gmail.com Twitter hand: @BayleyJames

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