Former England midfielder Joe Cole has announced his retirement from football on Tuesday, wrapping up his 20-year professional career. The 37-year-old, who made his debut at West Ham on 2 January 1999 at 17, completed 716 appearances and scored 104 goals for seven clubs.
Cole made his England debut at 19 and capped 56 times for the national side between 2001 and 2010. He scored 10 goals and appeared in 2002, 2006 and 2010 World Cups, but he was hindered by injuries throughout his career.
In a statement, Cole said, “After 20 years as a professional, the time has come for me to hang up my boots. 716 professional games, 104 goals, for seven great clubs – West Ham, Chelsea, Liverpool, Lille, Aston Villa, Coventry City and the Tampa Bay Rowdies – as well the honour of playing for England. It has been a dream come true. All of it.”
Citing his passion for football, Cole also hinted at making a career as a coach in the future.
“Looking to the future, I want to stay involved in the game. I feel I can offer a lot as a coach and have really enjoyed the opportunity to undertake some of these duties with the Rowdies. To lend my experience to help other young footballers achieve their dreams, just like I did, is a big passion of mine,” said the footballer, who was part of England's so-called 'Golden Generation'.
Skillful Cole, who is currently playing for Tampa Bay Rowdies has played for Chelsea between 2003 and 2010 and won the Premier League on three occasions, the FA Cup twice and the League Cup. After leaving Chelsea, Cole did tedious stints at Liverpool, Lille, West Ham, Aston Villa and Coventry City. He moved to the United States in May 2016.