Cole commits to the cause

Carlton Cole was delighted to pledge his long-term future to West Ham United on Monday by signing a new five-year contract.

The 25-year-old has established himself as an integral part of the attack with his hard work and all-round team play earning high praise. The striker, who signed from Chelsea in July 2006, said: "I am very pleased to sign. It is nice that I can just focus on playing good football for the club.  I know now I am here for quite a while so it is time to knuckle down. The manager has 100 per cent faith in me and I have got 100 per cent faith in him and our team as well.

"It is good that I have got this opportunity to show West Ham supporters, and prove to myself, that I can be a big part of the prospects to come. We are playing some good football, the results are starting to turn in our favour and the only way is up from now. Hopefully the manager can get the team where he wants us to be and I reckon we will do really well."

Cole is the club's leading scorer with four goals in 12 appearances, with the most recent run-out being his tireless turn in Sunday's 1-0 win at Sunderland. Although working hard on adding more goals to his game, Cole knows the value of his contribution. "It does please me to play like that. I ran myself into the ground. I am still hurting and my body is still sore from yesterday but I just feel that it was a well-deserved win and all the efforts of the whole team paid off."

West Ham United CEO Scott Duxbury said: "I am delighted that Carlton has agreed a new five-year contract and has committed his long-term future to the club. He is a major part of Gianfranco Zola's plans and he deserves this new deal for his continued good form and dedication to the West Ham United cause.

"This news underlines that as a club we are thinking only of moving forward and are on a sound financial footing. We have a clear football project and have invested heavily in the medical and technical departments. That is paying dividends, and securing key players on long-term contracts is a major part of this project."