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2013-10-10T23:01:00 Updated 2015-02-18T23:47:02

Cole backing England to advance

As a man who has been capped 56 times by England and harbours ambitions of adding to that tally, Joe Cole has a huge interest in the Three Lions' crucial final two 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

England host Montenegro on Friday evening at Wembley before welcoming Poland to the Home of Football next Tuesday. Victories in both Group H matches will take Roy Hodgson's side to Brazil.

West Ham United midfielder Cole, who is a keen student of the game, told West Ham TV he expects England to get the job done, with his former Liverpool manager and team-mates playing a big part.


"I think England will be all right and they're going to qualify," said the No26. "I don't think it will be 100 per cent comfortable but I don't think they'll have a sweat on like they did in the past.

"I believe Daniel Sturridge will have a big part to play because you want to play your form players. We've also got Jack Wilshere, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard so we've got enough to qualify, that's for sure."

As for England's opponents, Cole has done his homework and has pointed to the threats posed by both Montenegro and Poland.

"With Montenegro at home, you're going to need to look after Mirko Vucinic [of Juventus] and Stevan Jovetic [of Manchester City] as they are their special players in a good team. With Roy Hodgson in charge, he is a very experienced manager and he'll get the team tactically right for that game.

"Then, with Poland, they have Robert Lewandowski [of Borussia Dortmund] who is another world-class player who we will have to look out for. They also have a friend of mine, Ludovic Obraniak, who I played with at Lille and is a good player and a talented boy. Their right-back is also a good player, Lukasz Piszczek, but he's out injured at the moment.

"Poland have a more balanced side than Montenegro and both will pose a threat, but I think it will be fairly comfortable. Missing Theo Walcott is a blow because we use his pace to break teams down, but Wayne Rooney is on fire and he and Sturridge can make the difference for us."

Should England qualify, Cole is determined to force his way back into Hodgson's thoughts and punch his own plane ticket to Brazil. Having played at three World Cup finals in 2002, 2006 and 2010, the 31-year-old would love nothing more than to make it four.

"A lot could happen in the eight months or so until the World Cup and we'll just keep playing. As a footballer, you always dream of playing at the World Cup.

"First things first, I want to get fit and playing to the level i was just before the injury, then I'm sure I'll be knocking on the door."

Looking further into the future, Cole has a strong interest in the development of English football and of young players in particular.

The midfielder is considered one of the most skilful players of his generation and listened with interest when new FA Chairman Greg Dyke recently outlined his vision for increasing the number of English players featuring in the Barclays Premier League and improving the fortunes of the national side.

"First of all, I think it was a very bold thing for Greg Dyke to do and it's a good thing that someone has said it, especially a powerful man in his position.

"We can't hide the fact that technically, over the last 30 or 40 years, we've been slightly behind other top nations and we haven't achieved as much as we would have liked considering we're a massive football nation.

"It's a whole different conversation to have and I have my opinions and it's too much to go into lightly. I think it was a great thing he came out and said and I'm sure people like Greg Dyke, Roy Hodgson and [FA director of elite development] Dan Ashworth are English people and want us to do well. There is something genuinely deeply within their bones and I think that's very important - having an English team behind the team.

"They have a real anxiety to make England top of the world again and that's very important. I was buzzing when he did that and agreed with a lot of things he said."

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