Having confirmed that Fabian Delph will be out until 2015 after undergoing an operation on his dislocated shoulder, Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert is confident that summer signing Joe Cole can step up in his absence.
Cole, 32, has endured a slow start to life at Villa since arriving on a free transfer in June, with hip and thigh problems bothering him since the club’s pre-season tour of Texas.
The former England international made his first Premier League appearance of the season as an 81st-minute substitute in last weekend’s 3-0 defeat at Everton, however, and Lambert now believes that he can offer the side an extra creative spark which even Delph couldn’t provide.
‘Delph has had his op, it went well and everything is on course. It's just a matter of getting him to do his rehab and getting him fit,’ he was quoted in the Daily Star.
‘Joe is experienced and his enthusiasm for the game is excellent. He just wants to play football.
‘That's a rare thing now for a footballer to have enthusiasm to play games. That sums Joe up, his experience and his enthusiasm.
‘He's been as good as gold. We try and play at high tempo, high intensity. He's an excellent pro and has stayed behind after training, he's been really good.
‘The No.10 role is Joe's strongest and that's where I see him. Systems are there to be adapted anyway; you can never really say you will play one way for the rest of the season anyway.
‘Fabian and Joe are different types. Joe's a No.10 with creativity and an eye for a pass.’