Cole Confident

Despite the minor injury Joe Cole sustained at Bishop's Stortford on Friday, which has ruled him out of full training for a couple of days, the player insists life under Glenn Roeder's new regime is good.

"Everyone likes Glenn," he says, "but he has to change now because he is the manager, and he is going to have to drop people.

"I'm sure he will prove to everyone what a great boss he is.

"He hasn't changed as a person, though obviously he is a lot busier now as manager.

"He is doing a good job so far and I hope the fans give him a chance, and I'm sure he will prove to them what a good coach he is.

"He has come from nowhere to get the job and he has changed the surroundings at the training ground; the mood is good.

"All the lads are training well and it's looking good at the moment - and perhaps one or two more youngsters will get their chance this season."

Joe welcomes the addition of David James to the squad - the only fresh face at the club so far this summer - and adds: "We are strong in the goalkeeper area with David James having joined us, and, having just turned 31 he is relatively young for a keeper, coming into his prime.

"Now we have four good players in that position and it's really exciting to have an England goalkeeper in the team."

Joe ended last season, of course, in an England shirt - albeit an under-21 one against Greece, after making his full debut with Michael Carrick in a friendly against Mexico a week earlier.

"Mr Eriksson just said he wasn't going to put us on the bench against Greece so he asked me and Michael if we would play in the under-21s, which we were more than happy to do.

"It's just disappointing the way the game ended up but that's how football goes."

A sound defeat against the Greeks saw him picked out for post match criticism by Howard Wilkinson, who said the match showed why he was not in the full side regularly yet, but Joe says: "Personally, every time I am in the team and it gets beat it is always the young player or the flair player that gets the blame, and at the moment I fall into both those categories.

"But it doesn't really bother me; not all people believe that."

A goal might have helped his cause, as it did Michael's in that game, but he says: "When I had the goal disallowed it could have gone either way, but they got the third from bad defending and we were back in trouble again.

"People have said a lot worse things to me than that so we just get on with it.

"It was nice to have Michael alongside me and it takes a huge weight off my shoulders because I'm there now, and I'm just another player, and the race has been done.

"It's just a shame that in my position there are probably the three best players in the country in Beckham, Scholes, and Gerrard."

Indeed, Joe might have scored early after coming on for his full debut against the Mexicans, when he broke through to face the keeper, but he recalls: "I took it on my left foot but maybe I should have waited and taken it on my right.

"But it was one of those spur of the moment things and it was a good save by the keeper. But I'll score next time.

"It is quite nervewracking because you have been waiting for it all your life and then you are actually there and it takes you a few minutes to get into it.

"In fact with my first touch of the ball I fell over, but I got into it after that."

He is convinced that Michael Carrick - who played a more attacking midfield role at Bishop's on Friday, while Joe played left midfield before coming off, made a good full debut - and will only continue his learning curve this season.

"Michael did well, he didn't lose the ball, and he is only going to get better for West Ham," insists Joe.

He adds that, this minor injury apart, he is fresh and raring to go for the new campaign: "I've ended up with about a month and a half off because my season ended on 6th June; but after a while you get bored with just sitting around, and you are looking to get back - but I did put my feet up!"