Joe: You'll See More Of Me

Joe Cole says he has put on a fair bit of weight since last season - and is more than happy.

While players around the country keep a close eye on their fitness as they sweat the pounds off in training, Joe is quite happy to admit:

"I have put on half a stone."

But he adds:

"That is not fat, it is just growth and generally getting bigger and growing up."

While Joe insisted last season his increased defensive duties made him a more mature player, he feels he will be even more robust next season.

"Really, I am still growing," he says, "so that will be a big difference, and generally I am feeling fitter in games."

Joe badgered Glenn Roeder to let him start at Roots Hall on Tuesday, and says:

"I hadn't expect to play but I told the gaffer I wanted to get into it as quickly as possible; I enjoyed it, it was a good tough game, the sort you need to get your fitness.

"I played an hour and I thought it was a difficult match in the end, but we deserved the win.

"It is just about getting your fitness at this stage, and we will get the real test when we meet Norwich and Vitesse Arnhem and that."

The match saw the unveiling of his new hair cut - a diagonal stripe from back left to front right - which he had been careful to cover up with a hat when he watched his colleagues take on Leyton Orient at Brisbane Road last Friday.

Explaining the coiffure, he says:

"I was just trying something new; you have a lot of time on your hands and you do some mad stuff - it is just for a laugh."

But for those seeking some mystic significance in the cut, or even suggesting it is the shape of a 'J', he has got some disappointing news.

"It is just a stripe."

Joe insists he is fully committed to West Ham now, and is not revelling in the glory of being in the World Cup this summer.

"The World Cup was great but it has been and gone, it is in the bank, and I will never forget it," he says.

"It was one of the best experiences of my life being out there, and I learned so much - but the focus is on the coming season with West Ham.

"Of course you are going to learn and the experience of it all is brilliant, working with all those great players every day.

"You hear about players not savouring moments like that but I have taken notice of everything out there; it is all in my head - and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

"When do you arrive? I have played seven times for England now and a full season in the Premiership, so I just want to carry on improving and making myself a better player for West Ham."