West Ham striker Carlton Cole admits lack of form
England striker believes losing his place will make him stronger
Struggling Carlton Cole has admitted he has not been anywhere near his best since missing two months last season because of injury.
The Hammers striker scored seven goals in the opening 13 matches last term, but after suffering knee ligament damage in the 5-3 win over Burnley in November, he has scored just twice in his last 19 matches.
Yet to score this season, goalless Cole has subsequently lost his place in the starting XI as well as the England squad and was brutally honest about his performances.
“I have to admit that I haven’t been the same since my injury last year. I’m happy to admit that,” he said in a national newspaper.
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“I’m very honest about myself and am by far my biggest critic. I’ve just not been the same. I’ve got to find my form and it’s a good thing the others are performing in my place.”
Cole has backed Victor Obinna and Frederic Piquionne in his place, but believes he would still be leading the line were it not for a missed spot-kick against Bolton in the first home game of the campaign.
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“In the first home game of the season, I missed a penalty and that has defined my season so far,” he said.
“If that had gone in, I think I would have gone on to score a few more goals by now. There’s a fine line in football sometimes and you get to learn from these things and that was a big moment.
“My season personally has not gone the way I planned it and right now I’m heavily involved in the character-building process because I’m not playing.”
Unhappy with just a place on the bench, Cole believes his recent omission will spur him on to perform at a higher level and make him a stronger character in the long run.
“You have to understand that for the last two years I’ve been the first-choice striker but now Frederic Piquionne and Victor Obinna are there for West Ham and they’re doing brilliantly so I can’t really begrudge them at all. It’s time for me to up my game,” he said.
“They’re my team-mates and I want them to do well. We need the points to get up there. We need to be up there because West Ham needs to be in the Premiership next season. Survival is our priority.”
“It can only inspire me to up my game. I have been told to step it up by the manager but sometimes you need to have that in yourself.
“Sometimes you’re on top then all of a sudden you find yourself at the bottom of the pecking order. But the manager knows my quality, the fans know my quality and I’m going to bounce back a better person.
“This is still generally the best time in my career. I’ve been playing regularly for West Ham before now and that’s all I’ve ever wanted in my life as a footballer. You want to show people what you can do.
“West Ham gave me that opportunity and I’m so grateful that they did. Hopefully I can get back amongst the goals for them.”