Compliments For Cole

Former West Ham United under-17s coach Peter Brabrook says he can envisage Joe Cole staying at the club for his entire career.

Peter, who set Joe in his way to a professional career at Upton Park, says: "I had Joe at the club first when he was 12 and I took him right the way through until now, so I know a little bit more about Joe than he probably knows about himself.

"It is nice to see how well he has done and how well he is doing. He is still only a baby at the moment and he has the world at his feet.

"He deserves that because he is a level headed boy with very, very good parents and it is nice to see someone like that get on.

"It is up to Joe what he is going to do, obviously, but I don't see any reason why Joe can't have the rest of his career at West Ham; if he is treated in the right way, who knows?"

Peter, who was delighted to see Joe make an appearance against Sweden at the weekend, hopes the young midfielder continues to show the same loyalty to the Hammers that he did as a schoolboy.

He recalls: "He just liked the atmosphere at the football club, and he loved the people and what was done.

"We weren't one of the richest going but what we did on the football side he enjoyed, and his parents did as well - which was half the battle.

"Even at 12 you could see he was going to be a star - it didn't take any working out."

He pays tribute to Joe's family as well, adding: "They have been strong, and very loyal to the football club. That just shows what good parents they are, with Joe eventually signing for the football club all those years ago when he had nearly all the clubs in the country chasing his signature.

"I didn't have any fears whatsoever that he wasn't going to sign, I knew very well he was once his mum and dad said 'he will, no matter what happens.'

"At the time he was talking to the likes of Alex Ferguson and the people at Arsenal - top, top clubs.

"But he always said 'don't worry, I'm going to sign for West Ham', that's what he did, and that's what I call loyalty.

"I took him on his word and on his parents' word as well. He got offered the world but he still signed for West Ham, which I thought was absolutely tremendous.

"Manchester United could have offered him the earth, I would imagine, but Joe wanted to sign for West Ham. That is what he said all along, and that is what he stuck to.

"Everyone at West Ham were just loyal people; the players, the coaches, and that is all we could say to them."

Peter's time as a youth coach at the club arguably coincided with West Ham's best ever crop of youngsters coming through, and Joe, who was told by his father while in Japan that Peter was retiring, expressed sadness that he would not be seeing him at the training ground on a regular basis any more.

Looking back on Joe's arrival at the club, he adds: "At that time we had a really decent side. We won everything at under-12s, 13s, 14s, 15s, and 16s. I don't think the team he played in ever got beat in their own age group, and obviously that helped at the same time."

He knows that his successor at under-17 level faces quite a task if he is to bring as many players through the ranks, and adds: "You do worry with youngsters these days. They have so many temptations in front of them and at a very young age you just can't afford to dabble with anything like that.

"Your concentration and your life has got to be football, and football only until you have made it. At a very young age you have got to sacrifice your mates and going out to discos, all that sort of thing.

"You have just got to focus on playing football before all of those bonuses come along."

But he has no worries about Joe being spoiled by success, and concludes: "He is a lovely boy, a very polite person who has been brought up the right way and adapted himself the right way.

"With the hype and the publicity he has had over the last two years I think he has handled himself really well, and that is full marks to him, his parents and whoever has been handling him."