Chelsea’s Most Underrated Player?

Joe Cole left the field to a standing ovation on Saturday and to be honest, that appreciation has been a long time coming.

It’s something I’ve never really understood (and raised on TheChelseaBlog in the past), how time and again Joe Cole’s worth not just to his club but also his country, is overlooked. That’s not to say he’s not rated at Chelsea, I just don’t think he’s ever been rated enough – certainly not where managers are concerned anyway because ever since he arrived at Stamford Bridge six years ago, Cole seems to have fought a constant battle to prove himself.

Not that any player should have an automatic place in the side obviously – although some seem to,  irrespective of poor performances – it’s just that in Joe Cole’s case, it never seems to matter how hard he fights, how hard he pushes himself, how committed he is, he’s just never seemed to get the credit he’s due.

Whilst Cole continues to respond positively to every question asked of him, not just with his football, but also with the sort of loyalty that repeatedly hears him come out with statements like “I always dreamt of playing for Chelsea and my other dream was to play for the best team in the world. I think I am doing both things at the moment so I am very happy” and “Being an injured Chelsea player is probably the second best job in the world behind being a Chelsea player”, managers just never seem to see or hear it.

So, I probably enjoyed his ovation as much as he did when he left the pitch Saturday – although not nearly as much as I loved seeing him finally start a game after a nine month spell out. And what a comeback – as I said in the match report, no player has the right to look that good after such a long time out of the game and yet Cole, working his arse off as always, showed us the creativity we’ve missed.

TheChelseaBlog had noted Ballack’s importance to our midfield’s solidity last week, a fact only highlighted with a sterling performance his presence allowed Frank Lampard to put in against Atletico.  And in turn, against Blackburn, Joe Cole’s presence at the tip of the diamond gave Lampard and Ballack the freedom to create the sort of chances they just haven’t done in his absence. Whilst Deco has been inconsistent up there and Lampard has looked like he’s stuck in treacle, Joe Cole looked like he was born to play there. Even his lack of match sharpness – evidenced with the sitter her missed in the opening minute of the game – didn’t detract from the energy and creativity of his passing and movement for the 75 minutes he spent on the pitch.  And if that’s what a match-rusty Joe Cole can add to our midfield this season, it bodes well for Chelsea, it really does.

Equally impressive, was the credit given by the Chelsea manager (at last!), with Carlo Ancelotti stating “I was very impressed.  He is a genius. He has fantastic quality in midfield. After nine months out it is not easy to play like Joe Played. I`m happy for him and for us, he`s an important player.”
Whilst Joe Cole himself, stated “I know all the games won’t be like Blackburn but I enjoyed it nonetheless. It was a great win for us.  Over the years I have learned to be patient with myself and the chances come, especially at a club like this. We have to rotate players, which we haven’t done as well over the last three years, and which we could have done.  Everyone looks fresh and everyone is happy they are all playing games. We look sharp.  I just try and do my best and enjoy my football. I genuinely love playing the game. It was brilliant just to be out there again. But I enjoyed playing in a more central role – it was the first time in my career.  I started off playing youth-team football in that position and then moved out to the wing. I just enjoy playing. I am very lucky to play for Chelsea and very lucky to play for England and there is so much to look forward to over the next few months.  It is a great time. I am so excited about playing football again. Sometimes it takes something like that, when you are out for so long, to make you realise. Every day I go into training is a blessing. I just love it and I am enjoying being back.”

And we’ll enjoy having you back Joe!

 

16 Responses to “Chelsea’s Most Underrated Player?”

  1. to the contrary, i think he is the most over rated player in chelsea and probably england as well because he has very little end product. all those flicks and clever moves (some of which come off) look good when you are on top and playing against a poor team, but he does not have the quality to produce it consistently against top opposition when the team is down.

    that is not to say he is not good. he can be good but he is not underrated, far from it. anelka is someone who is somewhat underrated and is consistently good

  2. I’m not sure I’ll agree with the last writer on Joe. But on Anelka, it’s 100% yes. He’s the most underrated player at Chelsea and it makes me feel sad anytime I watch him make those runs that result in goals but you don’t hear much being said about his contributions to the team. I’m a Ghanaian and I’m always impressed anytime I watch Anelka play. Maybe he’s not given attention because he’s not English

  3. I think that´s a tend harsh Paul – the days of flicks and tricks ended under the Mourinho regime. Joe´s finally found the right balance between possession and attacking – i´m not Blues fan, but as fan of football its great to see him back

  4. ”certainly not where managers are concerned” is more accurate because ive felt cole has always been rated highly and appreciated among chelsea fans, i personally have been really aniticipating his return cos hes just in a different league to other chelsea players, him along with essien have always been my favourite players of the current team, he deffinately isn’t appreciated enough by england fans though, he is exactly what they need, a real playmaker

  5. na, out of all england wingers coley by far has the best end product, anelka is deffinately underrated though, i agree with that

  6. no personal offense paul, but your opinion of cole is absolute rubbish, he brings creativity to the chelsea side that no-one else can and i’ve seen him step up to plate in the majority of big games, liverpool and man u games still fresh in the mind

  7. Complete tosh – The only manager who underutilised and underappreciated Joe Cole was Claudio Ranieri, but those were Joe’s salad days at Chelsea. Carlo Ancellotti will undoubtedly pick Joe above the likes of Malouda on the wing and Deco in the middle, and he will be a first choice. If you want to discuss underrated players lets talk about Belletti………

  8. i agree with paul. Yes there were some games that cole stepped up normally liverpool. But i have been disappointed with him in so many games at the highest level. His ball control and dribling skills seems to fail him when facing the tough customer

  9. This is a nice tribute to a wonderful player who is not only brilliant on the pitch but also a fan of the club

  10. I don’t think Joe Cole has ever been underrated by fans or the pundits. Possibly by managers. Jose took a long time to trust him, for example. But the most underrated player at Chelsea is surely Anelka. He has been awesome this season.

  11. Chelsea D agree totally, I posted the story last night that he could be the key to our success this season playing behind the front two as Lampard needs to play slightly deeper and Deco is inconsistant at the moment.

    Joe Cole IS the answer that Carlo has had sitting under his nose for the last four months!

    He’s here, he’s there……

  12. I wouldn’t disagree with anyone who suggests Anelka is underrated for us, in fact I’d completely agree. He works hard and contributes more than he’s given credit for. Joy – I agree with you about Belletti as well, another hard worker I have a lot of respect for – he just gets his head down, plays his game and doesnt get involved in unnecessary publicity.
    As for Joe Cole though, the fact opinion even on here is divided suggests we don’t all value him in quite the same way. Both in terms of his contribution on the pitch and his attitude, I bloody love him. And for those who suggest manager’s haven’t underrated him, a question: why has he spent half his time either starting or finishing on the bench?

  13. Big win over a team of sick players in Blackburn
    Chelski might have got the 3 points but also the Swine flu too
    Which for fit young players is ok only a couple of days to recover.
    Then again with old people its a killer
    So not good news for your team then !!!
    Your most underated player the one with the whisle most weeks.

  14. Joe cole is an exceptional talent and has great vision and remarkable touch and skill, but the same as most players of that ability…they can lack consistency at times and generally players with that ability can have issues with attitude. I am not saying he has any of these, but possibly could have, which has been noticed by several managers?
    There was a piece of showboating he carried out at West Ham which was simply amazing and as Ancelloti says…he is a Genius!
    Nice to see Sham has not lost his narrow minded opinion…genius you are not sir! Champions league still an option for you lot this year??

  15. jockney – I’d say Joe Cole’s attitude is nothing short of exceptional. He’s been asked to prove himself time and again over the years and every single time he’s responded positively both on the pitch and with anything he’s had to say to the press.
    I’d argue as well that any apparent lack of consistency on his part is probably down to the fact he isnt played consistently – even when he’s injury free.
    The one point we do agree on here is Sham :)

  16. why bother the end product..he is a player to assist..with his creative move…and i aagree with this article…and i totally 100% agree anelka is underrated at stamford bridge….and i dont blame anyone because…Drogba produce more goals and of cuz he will get the attention….