Tony: Call-up Deserved

Tony Gale is pleased that Joe Cole has been called up for the full England squad - and the assumption is that Joe will be as well, when he eventually finds out!

Joe, promoted because of Kieron Dyer dropping out through injury, is on holiday and his dad George has not been able to contact him to tell him the good news as yet.

"He hasn't taken his mobile phone and we haven't been able to get hold of him - but we're working on it!" says a delighted George.

Joe, the Hammer of the Year, will have a quick turnaround when he does return, though he was already prepared to extend his season anyway with the under-21s - and colleagues Jermain Defoe, Steve Bywater, and Glen Johnson.

Now he will join Trevor Sinclair and David James in the full England squad, and Tony says: "We are still producing England players and I don't think the boys should panic that just because we are in Division One they won't get picked by Sven.

"I'd say if you can be picked now for games like this with Trevor and David in the squad as well - with Jermain on the outskirts of it and, you never know, Glen Johnson not far away - if your form is good and we start really well next season, you can get picked again.

"I thought Joe's form at the end of the season was particularly strong but he didn't have a bad season all round!

"In the Birmingham game he was excellent and when we went with the 4-3-3 system it has put a little bit more responsibility on him defensively, and I think he has responded very well.

"Not only that, when he has got the ball he has been driving at players, going past players, not doing the tricks and fancy bits but beating them with a bit of pace and strength - so the call-up is fully justified for me.

"There is still room for improvement, and he will know that as well, but I don't think anyone can doubt that he has got the ability to beat players and that is a rare commodity in these times, and I think Joe in that England squad is a must because there are not many players that can do it."

His work rate has also impressed Tony, who adds: "He has done his fair bit of graft and I think he has been closing down players really well, and you can see there is a big improvement in the way he gores into the tackle and closes down with a purpose."

As for the Jermain Defoe situation he adds: "I hope that it is all done and dusted and it all quietens down a bit."