‘He’ll coaching whether he’s playing or not’: MLS expert on the experience Ashley Cole brings to Derby

By Ryan Burton

Ashley Cole ‘won over every single fan’ at LA Galaxy during his three seasons in America, according to an MLS expert.

Cole, who signed for the Rams until the end of the season, has spent the last three seasons in the States – making 86 appearances during a fruitful spell across the pond.

And Josh Guesman, from the Corner of the Galaxy podcast, was impressed with what he saw from Derby’s new signing – after initially having reservations over his age.

He told SBW: ’I don’t think there was a Galaxy fan who was thrilled about the signing.

LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW ON THE LATEST SBW:

‘Any time you get a player over the age of 35, you’ll not be able to depend on him for a significant amount of time. But he won over every single fan.

‘If they brought him back, it wouldn’t surprise me if he lasted the whole season again. We now have a hole at left back that we’re going to need to fill.’

Last season, the former 107-cap England captained a Galaxy side boasting the indelible Zlatan Ibrahimovic. It also proved to be his best in a Galaxy shirt – with nine of his 11 assists coming in his final campaign.

MLS: Los Angeles Galaxy at Sporting KC
Cole tussles with former Ram Johnny Russell during an LA Galaxy clash against Sporting City Kansas.

Josh added: ‘That day in and day out grind and the professionalism that he showed in the locker room – the captain’s armband was well deserved for him.

‘The Galaxy had one of the best offences in the whole of the MLS. And despite having one of the worst defences – it wasn’t Cole’s fault.’

It wasn’t just eye-catching performances on the pitch that left a lasting impression, but his willingness to share some words of wisdom – particularly with the younger members of the squad.

‘If you have young players – you can’t ask for a better professional to show them the ropes’, Josh told us.

Soccer - FA Cup - Final - Liverpool v Chelsea - Wembley Stadium
Cole celebrates Chelsea’s 2012 FA Cup win with Lampard, John Terry, Daniel Sturridge and Gary Cahill.

‘He can tell you what to do, he can lead by example or he’ll whisper in your ear all the good things you need to do and the bad things you need to improve on.’

Time waits for no man, even if you are the greatest left back of your generation. And the 38-year-old understandably has one eye firmly on his next steps within the game.

Josh continued: ‘He would sit in on tape sessions with the coaches. He would be analysing the games – so he did all of this stuff, along with being the captain and starting left back for the Galaxy.

‘He’s going to be a coach on the field if he’s playing and if not, whether he’s sitting in the stands or sitting on the bench, he’s still a coach there as well.’

With a CV of former clubs including the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and AS Roma, it’s no surprise that a player of Cole’s pedigree was able to make a mark in his MLS.

But how will he cope with the demands of the Championship in his twilight years? Guesman is confident the veteran has plenty more to give.

‘Even though the Galaxy moved on because of his age, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have another season left.’

Listen to the full interview with Josh Guesman in Episode 43 of the Steve Bloomer’s Washing podcast.

 

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