Roy issues Cole challenge
Roy Hodgson has told Joe Cole to stop dwelling on his poor season so far and start performing.
Last Updated: 23/12/10 8:50am
Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson has told Joe Cole to stop dwelling on his disappointing season so far and start performing.
Cole's arrival at Anfield over the summer on a free transfer was widely regarded as a major coup, with the England international determined to show his best form after a frustrating end to his Chelsea career.
However, his first few months with the Reds have been hampered by injury and suspension and when he has had the chance to play he has looked out of sorts.
There have been suggestions that Cole is struggling because he has not been operating in his favoured central role, but Hodgson insists he should have no complaints.
The Reds boss said: "I think he has got to do it on the field of play. With all the best will in the world, people can be in support or not in support, some will say he's not doing it, and some will say he's unlucky because he's not playing in the right position.
"But I don't have any truck with that. Joe is a midfield player, and what's the right position for a midfield player? Gerrard has played all over midfield for as long as I can remember.
"Joe has to come to terms with the fact that he has come here after an unsuccessful period at Chelsea with high hopes of taking Liverpool by storm and unfortunately it's not happened. That's life.
"He should have great confidence in his ability as he is a very good footballer. As far as I am concerned, everything he has to say should be said on that patch of green grass.
"He should be convincing me and everyone watching that this is a player who can help Liverpool win things. And I think you couldn't say that has been the case so far."
Cole is set to return to the Liverpool side during the busy festive period, which starts with a trip to Blackpool on Boxing Day, and Hodgson has urged him to grasp the opportunity.
Hodgson is convinced the 29-year-old can be a great success at Anfield, saying: "He'll get plenty of chances because we'll need everybody. I have not lost faith in him in any way.
"He is a good footballer. But you can't deny the start he wanted has not materialised.
"I don't care how many things are written or said, you can't make black into white.
"But he is training well, it seems to me that his confidence is gradually returning and all Joe needs is a couple of good games or maybe a goal and that could turn things around for him.
"You'll have to ask him what isn't working. If he says the only place he can play is behind the striker, he is limiting his chances of playing here.
"We also have Gerrard and Meireles who can play in that position, and we also have a situation where at the moment quite often we are playing with two strikers.
"I would be sad to hear him saying something like that, because he would be suggesting he can't do what he has done so often in the past for England and Chelsea, which is playing in a different position."
It has emerged that discussions to bring in Cole were already under way before Hodgson's appointment but the manager maintains that he still played a part in securing the deal.
"I was involved in the discussion with him, but the initiative and the desire to take Joe did come from the managing director perhaps more so than myself because I wasn't in the position to say these are the players we should be targeting as I hadn't been offered the job at that point," Hodgson said.
"I played my part in persuading him it was a good move, but I made it clear I couldn't promise him a certain position. I made it very clear Steven Gerrard was staying, and the competition for the one spot, if it was the one spot he wanted, it was going to be very tough.
"He's not so much a player I can really take responsibility for. I'd have to share the responsibility for Joe, but I have every faith in his ability, and I'm sure he'll come good."