Joe Cole hoping for bigger role at Aston Villa this season

The 33-year-old playmaker endured an injury-hit first season in the Midlands.

After seeing injuries ruin his 2014-15 season, Aston Villa midfielder Joe Cole has told the club’s official website that he is determined to feature on a more regular basis this coming campaign.

Cole, 33, joined Villa on a free transfer last summer after his contract at West Ham United expired but picked up a thigh strain in pre-season and would struggle for fitness from then on.

The former England international ended up being limited to just five starts and 10 substitute appearances for a total of 441 minutes, while managing one goal and one assist, as recurring hamstring problems prevented him from earning a regular run in the line-up.

With his career now starting to wind down, the veteran No. 10 acknowledges that his legs are not quite what they used to be but, with another 12 months left on his Villa deal, he thoroughly intends to make the most of his remaining time in the Premier League.

“I am just trying to get through the pre-season - get that base in my legs,” Cole told “The games I played last year, I thought I did alright. But it's about getting more volume obviously.

“I want to get to the start of the season fit, sharp and looking forward to the campaign ahead. I am determined. I have worked very, very hard in the pre-season - I have done lots of different things.

“And, of course, I have a real desire to play football. If I didn't I'd be on the beach somewhere.

“I am determined to play. I enjoy it. I love it. The Premier League is where it's at. This club is great, the lads are superb, I love playing for this team. I get on with everyone.”

 2014-15 Premier League PositionTeamGoalsAssistsTotal Key PassesPassing AccuracyTotal Crosses MINSCrossing AccuracyTotal Dribbles MINSDribble AccuracyAppearancesMins Played
Joe Cole MF Aston Villa 1 1 7 84% 17.44 25% 69.75 75% 12 279

Cole did show some flashes of his past brilliance when fit and available last season but, even if he cannot make a real impact on the pitch, manager Tim Sherwood has said since his arrival that the former Chelsea man still has an important role to fill at the club.

Speaking back in March, Sherwood highlighted the important of Cole’s experience both on the training ground and in the dressing room, telling the Birmingham Mail: “He’s good around the place. He’s been at every game, certainly the home games. He’s been in the dressing room before the game, talking to the players.

“We’ve got a relatively young squad so he’s valuable to me.”

With the club still to bring in attacking reinforcements this summer, Cole could well have a bigger role to fill in Sherwood’s plans during the season if he can remain fit but, at the same time, he will still be competing with the likes of Jack Grealish, Charles N’Zogbia, Scott Sinclair and, if fans get their wish, Carles Gil for minutes.

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