Zola - Cole's best to come
West Ham United boss Gianfranco Zola is confident Carlton Cole's best form is still to come this season.
Last Updated: 15/08/09 6:48pm
West Ham United boss Gianfranco Zola is confident Carlton Cole's best form is still to come and has backed the striker to claim a place in England's World Cup squad.
Cole was the only Hammers player to hit double figures last season and he also forced his way into Fabio Capello's plans, making his debut against Spain in February.
The 25-year-old impressed as a second-half substitute in England's friendly draw with Holland in midweek and Zola expects Cole to continue improving.
"He will be massive for us and I'm assuming he'll also be important for England, because the way he played the other day was very encouraging," said Zola.
"There's a lot of competition in front of him because up front England are very good, but he looked very good when he came on.
"He was really aggressive and I'm sure Capello, who is someone who knows his job very well, is certainly considering him as a serious option.
"Carlton Cole knows that this season will be the most important season of his career.
"I'm sure he can have a better season than last year. I can tell you I am not anxious to say that, for me, nobody has seen the best of Carlton Cole."
Cole moved to Upton Park from Chelsea three years ago, but has only started to blossom and fulfil his potential since Zola took charge last season.
Zola added: "What we have done with him is to try and encourage those qualities and give him confidence and add something to his game.
"We worked with him, especially with his finishing. His movements were okay, but we just needed to improve his positivity in front of the goalkeeper, and he's been very good.
"Myself and Steve Clarke kept reminding him of the qualities he has got. He just needed to focus a little bit more on scoring and making his game a little bit more effective for the team.
"The more he has done that, the more he realised how good he was and found himself being very effective for the team.
"He has established positive habits and now he is growing up."