Joe: I'm So Proud

Joe Cole says he was so proud of Trevor Sinclair's performances in the World Cup this summer.

It is a sentiment typical of Joe, who could be forgiven for feeling sorry for himself after sustaining a thigh injury following his substitute appearance in the Sweden game that ruled him out against Argentina.

Arguably, at least, that opened the door for Trevor, who came on as a first half substitute in that game - and never looked back.

But there is no self-pity from Joe, who says:

"I was buzzing for Trevor when he was on, loving it - he was brilliant and did everyone at West Ham proud.

"He is such a strong character and kept bouncing back from the way things happened to him.

"He proved people wrong and I am so proud of him, as I am sure the West Ham fans - and the rest of the team - are.

"He represented us brilliantly."

Despite just playing the once, Joe knows it all lies ahead of him, and he says:

"It would have been a bit tasty to have had a World Cup winners' medal but I have got another five or six tournaments ahead of me, five or six more chances, so hopefully I will be picked for all of them."

Joe is sure that the experience has been beneficial, even if he didn't get more minutes under his belt, and he adds:

"It was a great experience, brilliant, and I loved every minute - just to be out there with those players was great.

"To get up every morning knowing you were going to be training with the best players in the country, learning from them, will hopefully make me a better player.

"I want to be better for the Hammers this season from what I have learned in the summer."

Joe, whose first appearance in friendly games will be at Colchester on Friday, insists that he is not in any way jaded.

"I have just had three weeks off and I am back working hard - and felt sharp straight away," he reveals.

"But the gaffer is suggesting I miss the first couple of games because he wants me to avoid burnout.

"Things happen for a reason sometimes; Trevor got injured at certain times and injuries are a big part of football now.

"You have to steer clear of them, and that is what I am going to try my best to do this preseason so I get my first proper one.

"I have never actually started a season fit - I just want to stay injury free, and, if that happens, I am sure I will have a good season."

And his final thoughts on the 2002 tournament?

"I felt a little disappointed flying back because I thought when Michael Owen scored maybe our names were on the cup.

"Maybe one day we might go all the way."

With Joe, we trust, very much part of it...