Tony Defends Joe

  • England are 5/2 to win Group F -
    Click for full World Cup odds with Surrey Sports.

Academy director Tony Carr says that attempts to make Joe Cole out to be arrogant are way off the target.

Joe has stated that he is confident of being able to play his part for England in the upcoming World Cup and many future tournaments, but one newspaper in particular decided to interpret this as arrogance.

In fact, it was the same publication that variously claimed that Trevor Sinclair initially returned from the England camp angry [he wasn't] and that he is scared of flying [he isn't]!

But Tony, who has of course overseen Joe's development as a teenager at the club, says:

"To be honest I have not really seen the papers but Joe is not big headed, he is confident - and there is a difference.

"He is far from being big headed, because he has always had his feet on the ground and is his own biggest critic in terms of his performance and so on; he is always striving to get better.

"If he is being accused of being big headed, that comes from people that don't know him.

"What do you want the boy to say? 'I'm not ready, I'm not good enough, I shouldn't be in the squad'?

"You want him to be confident and say 'I am ready, I am confident, put me in to show what I can do' - that's what a manager wants to hear.

"If a player is selected he wants to know that he has got no fear, no stage fright, and that he is going to go and perform - that is a great asset."

Tony says the pressure of performing on the world stage is something Joe will cope with and adds:

"He has been under pressure from 15 years old and even younger; people have expected the earth from Joe, and he has coped with it really well.

"This won't bother him; he will cope with it and get on with it - and let's hope he can show what he can do."

Tony knows, as at West Ham, the spotlight follows Joe around, and adds:

"In terms of keeping him with his feet on the ground, he gets treated like every other player; there is no distinction because of who he is and what his reputation is, or was.

"He is just part of the squad, but all media want to single out an individual whether it is David Beckham, Roy Keane, or Joe Cole, and if you are making a story that he is big headed that is mistaken."

Tony will be keeping a close eye on West Ham's three players in Japan and South Korea, and concludes:

"Hopefully they will all get a chance to show what they can do on the world stage, and if they get a chance grab it with both hands."