Joe Cole today, what a guy and player— Jack Grealish (@JackGrealish1) November 29, 2014
Aston Villa youngster Jack Grealish has taken to Twitter to hail the impact of Joe Cole, after the 33-year-old midfielder scored on his first Premier League start for the club in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Burnley.
Cole was at the centre of an enterprising first-half for Villa, as Paul Lambert’s side looked like a much-improved team with the former Chelsea man in the number 10 role, creating far more chances than has proved the norm this season.
Their persistence was eventually rewarded seven minutes before half-time when he latched on to Andreas Weimann's low ball in from the right-hand side and shot low underneath goalkeeper Tom Heaton for the opener.
Burnley came back at Villa after the break, however, with Cole noticeably tiring before being replaced by Grealish himself in the 67th-minute, as a late Danny Ings penalty rescued a point for the home side and left the Midlands outfit winless in nine matches.
Nevertheless, despite the disappointment of a late leveller, manager Lambert was delighted with the contribution of ex-England international, who he signalled out for particular praise post-match.
“The big plus was Joe Cole with the way he played - I thought he was outstanding. He was exceptional,” he told the club’s official website.
"I thought he was a massive plus and it was a great goal he scored.
"He's getting fitter and fitter with every passing week. He has great enthusiasm for the game of football for a guy who has won everything in the game. His performance today was outstanding."
Arriving on a free transfer in June, Cole picked up a thigh strain in pre-season which has so far limited his involvement, with a 60-minute outing in the Capital One Cup his one significant taste of action prior to the match at Turf Moor.
He had previously made just two brief league appearances for a total of 31 minute before Saturday, but his latest display suggests that there will be plenty more opportunities to impress over the coming weeks.
Given both he and Grealish are cut from a similar cloth, too, as tricky attackers with bags of creativity, it’s not hard to see why the 19-year-old admires his senior teammate, who could certainly serve as an excellent mentor during his time at Villa Park.