Cole shoots down young guns
By Phil Jackson
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Ashley Cole has criticised several of Arsenal's young guns for their attitudes last term.
Ashley Cole has criticised several of Arsenal's young guns for the laziness and isolationist attitudes they displayed last season.
Chelsea's new left back has revealed why he believes the team struggled so much last term, only scraping their way into the fourth UEFA Champions League spot on the last day of last term.
While Cole has acclaimed Jens Lehman and Thierry Henry for their continued determination and spirit he has hit out at the squad's younger members for showing the exact opposite.
"Watching games from the stands gave me a different perspective on matches and I saw too much rubbish being played too often, lazy players who didn't pull their weight and schoolboy errors," Cole told the Times in his serialised book Ashley Cole: My Defence.
"'The young guns' in my opinion, were not prepared to listen or learn. I remember feeling how fragmented we'd all become when Robin van Persie spoke up at training about Freddie Ljungberg. 'He doesn't talk to me. Why doesn't he talk to me?'"
"I couldn't tell you a thing about Kolo [Toure], [Emmanuel] Eboue, [Jose Antonio] Reyes, Cesc Fabregas or [Philippe] Senderos."
Arsenal had been dubbed 'The Invincibles' not more than a season before, as they faced Manchester United in an infamous affair in October 2004.
And Cole has finally spilled the beans on what exactly went on as The Gunners lost their 49-match unbeaten record in an ill-tempered affair which carried on down the tunnel.
"The lads at the front were eyeball to eyeball when one of the United security lashed out and smacked our travel manager on the nose. Then it kicked off, turning into a mass wrestling bout," Cole added.
"Then it happened. This slice of pizza came flying over my head and hit Fergie straight in the mush. The slap echoed down that tunnel and everything stopped - the fighting, the yelling, everything.
"Ferguson was steaming. I thought he was going to explode, but then he stormed off into the dressing room cursing and grunting, brushing the crumbs off his collar. That pizza took the sting out of the situation and both sides knew it had gone too far.
"The missile had come from the food tray in our dressing room. I've got a fair idea who launched it, and his aim with a pizza is just as good as his skills with a ball, but I won't name names."
These further revelations are sure to spice up proceedings for Chelsea's ties at United on November 26 and against Arsenal at home on December 10.