LA Galaxy new boy Ashley Cole addresses criticism of his signing

Ashley Cole

The former Arsenal and Chelsea defender's recent plight and past comments about MLS mean he has not received the warmest of receptions.

Ashley Cole has told the LA Galaxy's official website that he has not come to MLS “for a holiday” amid criticism of signing.

The Galaxy’s official announcement of Cole’s arrival on Wednesday morning was met with widespread disapproval among MLS circles after his past comments about the league.

Back in the summer of 2014, the former Arsenal and Chelsea defender acknowledged that he had received offers from the USA before joining Roma on a free transfer but claimed that he was “not ready to just sit on a beach”, before subsequently taking to Twitter to further belittle the standard of MLS.

His remarks saw him come in for serious criticism from both fans and the media, and the resentment towards him still lingers 18 months later.

In addition, the 35-year-old left-back is coming off a hugely disappointing spell in Italy, which saw him make just 16 total appearances for Roma after dropping out of first-team contention following the first half of the 2014-15 season.

His contract was eventually terminated by mutual consent last week after playing his final game for the Serie A club last March, leading to understandable scepticism over whether he will prove worth the investment for LA.

The ex-England international says he fully understands the negativity surrounding his signing but believes that supporters will soon warm to him once he proves that he is 100 percent committed.

“Hopefully, the LA fans will warm up to me,” Cole told LAGalaxy.com. "I know that it won’t be easy at the start, of course, but if I can just prove to them that I’m not here for a holiday, I’m here to work. I’m here to win things.

“I know that I’m 35, I’m not 21 anymore, so I have to understand that my body is not how it was years ago. I stay fit as much I can. I train as hard as I can, and I hope that I can bring trophies to the team. I hope to do that. In terms of proving people wrong, I’ve done that my entire career. I’ve always wanted to prove to people that I can play."

Many players coming to MLS from Europe also initially struggle to adapt to the physical demands of the league and its arduous travel schedule, but Cole believes he knows what to expect after speaking with head coach Bruce Arena, as well as new teammate Robbie Keane and Steven Gerrard.

“They told me that you have to be 100 percent honest when it comes to fitness and physicality, but hopefully I can transition quicker than I did at Roma,” he added. “I know that I have a lot to prove. I know that people have doubts about me because of my age and because I haven’t played in a long time.

“It’s a motivation and it drives me to prove people wrong, and to remind myself that I can still play at a top level.”

Cole is set to link up with the Galaxy next week and could play his first preseason friendly for the club on 9 February against Mexican side Club Tijuana.

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