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2013-03-17T07:00:00 Updated 2015-02-19T01:06:47

Cole pleased for Blues star Hazard

Joe Cole is pleased to see his one-time midfield colleague Eden Hazard thriving at Sunday's Barclays Premier League opponents Chelsea.

The former Blues playmaker lined-up alongside Hazard at French club Lille last season, and has therefore not been surprised to see the Belgium star show his class in a Chelsea shirt.

A decade after Cole himself joined the Stamford Bridge club, Hazard has taken on the mantle of West Ham United's No26, creating and scoring goals and catching the eye with his outstanding individual skill.

"I'm pleased he has gone there because it is a good club," said Cole, who is likely to miss Sunday's return to his old team with a hamstring injury. "He'll be looked after. He's a great player with so much ability - I said that as soon as I went out there in France.

"I'm pleased for him because he's a nice young lad. He wanted to come to England and I'm pleased he has come to London and is settling in nicely."

Cole, who was hurt in the 1-0 Barclays Premier League win at Stoke City a fortnight ago, thoroughly enjoyed playing alongside Hazard during a fruitful year on the other side of the English Channel. At Lille, he played in a fine midfield that also included France internationals Rio Mavuba and Benoit Pedretti.

"We had a good side, let me tell you. I have played in many good sides in my career and Lille was a good football team. We should have won the league, really [but finished third].

"We suffered a lot from injuries in defensive positions and it cost us, while the Champions League campaign made it difficult to manage with a smallish squad. I really enjoyed my time there. It was a good standard with good footballers."

Hazard is just one of a host of players to have moved to English football from France in the past 12 months, with full-back Cesar Azpilicueta also joining Chelsea from Olympique Marseille. Modibo Maiga moved to West Ham from Sochaux, while Olivier Giroud (Arsenal), Alexander Tettey (Norwich City), Samba Diakite, Stephane Mbia and Loic Remy (Queens Park Rangers) and Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur) have all joined Barclays Premier League clubs.

Cole, for one, is not surprised that many of the former Ligue 1 stars have made favourable impressions since moving to this country.

"The Premier League is arguably the best league - people might argue for Germany, Spain or Italy - but the uniqueness here is the marketing of it and the way it is presented. It is global.

"The French league is very good and very strong. There are a lot of good players coming out of French football. I really enjoyed my time there."

West Bromwich Albion

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