Ashley Cole makes positive impression on LA Galaxy debut

Ashley Cole

The 35-year-old former Arsenal and Chelsea defender played 58 minutes in Tuesday night's 0-0 friendly draw with Club Tijuana.

Ashley Cole made his preseason debut for the LA Galaxy on Tuesday night, playing 58 minutes in the MLS club’s 0-0 draw with Liga MX side Club Tijuana at the StubHub Center.

The 35-year-old left-back, who joined the Galaxy last month after leaving Roma by mutual consent, has not featured in a competitive match for 11 months after falling out of favour at the Stadio Olimpico, but he showed few signs of rust against the Mexican visitors.

As well as impressing in defence alongside fellow newcomer Jelle van Damme, the former Arsenal and Chelsea man had several bright moments going forward as LA dominated possession but struggled to break down their opponents.

Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena was quick to give his display a positive review after the friendly stalemate, telling the club’s official website: “This was a good exercise especially for our newcomers to get to see them with our team and get to understand our team a little bit

“[Cole] played very well. He’s a good player; obviously, we had to be smart about his minutes because he hasn’t played that much over the last six months, so we’re being smart. He’s a player with a lot of experience and quality."

Cole is coming off a disappointing 18-month spell at Roma, having made just 16 total appearances for the Serie A club before being axed from the first-team squad last March.

The Galaxy’s decision to sign the ex-England international was met with plenty of scrutiny due to his recent plight and past critical comments about the standard of MLS – remarks he has since claimed were taken out of context, and he now has some work to do to win over the doubters.

Nevertheless, the three-time Premier League winner was satisfied with how his first run-out for the club went, despite admitting that he is still behind his teammates in terms of fitness.

“It was okay. I haven’t played a competitive match in a long time so I thought it went alright,” Cole told LAGalaxy.com. “I’m not a 100 percent fit yet, so hopefully in the next game I can play some more minutes and get ready for the start of the season.

“I don’t feel 100 percent sure in terms of getting types of players and going with runs, but it’s going to game. We only have one preseason game left. I’ll have to work on the training ground to get more fit.

“I don’t feel I’m up to these guys yet in terms of fitness because they’ve been training a little bit longer than me, but I’ll work with the team and hopefully the fitness with come.”

The Galaxy play their final preseason friendly against the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday before they begin preparing for their CONCACAF Champions League quarter-final series against Mexican club Santos Laguna.

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