Well, well, Chelsea’s Joe Cole, the very same Joe Cole, Fabio Capello refuses to play in his starting eleven appears to have rescued England from another potential disaster.
The 26 year old, who came off the bench last month in the friendly against the Czech Republic and scored the equaliser, managed a couple of goals in the space of ten minutes last night when he finally came on for the blatantly inept Downing after the break.
England started bright enough but as is often the case, started to look a bit bored as the first half wore on and despite having 81% of the first-half possession, failed to breakdown the team ranked 186th in the world. And whilst the Andorrans must have been pretty pleased to go in all-square at the break, the same can’t be said for the England fans who, as ever, gave the usual vocal critique.
Anyway, second half and it was no surprise to see Stewart Downing replaced by Joe Cole – indeed, the only surprise is that Downing was preferred to Joe Cole in the first place – and the Chelsea midfielder had an immediate impact, scoring 2 in ten minutes. The first came as Joleon Lescott dinked a pass to Cole on the edge of the box, with Cole volleying it beautifully past the Andorran keeper, and the second saw a great reverse pass from Wayne Rooney met by the onrushing Cole who made it 2-0 to England when he slid it past the Koldo into the back of the net.
Strangely enough though, the player who’s contributions have saved England’s blushes for the last two games, continues to appear out of favour with the England boss. Capello has not only left Cole out of the starting eleven for the last four games, but was also noted to direct the majority of his rants on the night at the Chelsea midfielder.
So, whether or not Cole will feature from the start against Croatia or not remains to be seen, but one thing’s for sure England, and Capello could do a lot worse than having a player with Cole’s enthusiasm on the pitch for 90 minutes.
Andorra v England Team Line-Up’s:
England Team: David James, Glen Johnson, John Terry, Joleon Lescott, Ashley Cole, Theo Walcott, Gareth Barry, Frank Lampard (David Beckham, 80), Stewart Downing (Joe Cole, 46), Jermain Defoe (Emile Heskey, 46), Wayne Rooney.
England Substitutes Not Used: Paul Robinson, Wes Brown, Wayne Bridge, David Bentley.
Andorra Team: Jesus Luis Alvarez De Eulate Guergue Koldo, Antonio Lima Sola, Ildefons Lima Sola, Oscar Masand Sonejee, Jose Manuel Garcia Luena Txema, Xavier Andorrà Julià, Josep Manel Ayala Diaz, Manolo Jimenez Soria, Marcio Vieira, Gabriel Riera Lancha, Fernando Jose Silva Garcia (Juan Carlos Toscano, 65).