Ashley Cole has reunited with his former Chelsea and England team-mate Frank Lampard by signing for Derby County until the end of this season
The 38-year-old has enjoyed a remarkable career in top-flight football that has seen him win three Premier League titles, seven FA Cups, three Community Shields, one EFL Cup, one Europa League and the Champions League during his time spent at Arsenal and Chelsea.
Back in the days when he was at the peak of abilities, Cole was widely regarded as the world’s best left-back with even five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo revealing back in May that the former England international is the toughest defender he has ever faced in his career.
After making 384 Premier League appearances for Arsenal and Chelsea, Cole left England in 2014 for a brief spell at Serie A giants AS Roma before linking up with LA Galaxy in the MLS.
The veteran left-back has spent the last two years in the United States and captained Galaxy in his final season before his contract expired at the end of last year.
Now Cole is embracing the new challenge that awaits him at Championship side Derby, who are managed by his old Chelsea and England team-mate Lampard, as bid to win promotion to the Premier League this season.
“It’s going to be a challenge,” Cole told RamsTV.
“I’ve not played in England for five years now, so coming from the MLS in America and a different culture, different way of way of playing and philosophies then coming here where it’s cold, it rains, difficult conditions and strong players in a good, tough league.
“I’m again coming out of my comfort zone when I could have stayed in the MLS and relaxed. I wanted to come here and fight for something, fight for a good cause and make promotion. I think that would be great for the club and for Frank Lampard and me as well.
“Derby play good football. They are definitely in the top three teams in terms of style and philosophy in how they play. The team play great football from the back, have good young players with a few older players in there too.
“I’ve played in big teams with that kind of style and philosophy of press, fight, give everything and Frank has brought that to Derby. I’m looking forward to getting my chance to play again.”
Lampard, who played alongside Cole for eight years at Chelsea, is convinced that his professionalism will prove to be a key asset for Derby for their promotion bid.
“Ashley Cole is a great professional and a great lad,” said Lampard.
“He is very fit and fresh and wants to continue to play.
“I know the player he is, the professional he is and the influence he has. In my opinion, he is the greatest left-back of a generation and up there in world football for sure.
“In terms of a player in an England shirt at left-back, I’ve played with him and I’ve seen him deal with the best players in the world at big tournaments.
“The best players take risks. They have confidence, hunger and burning desire to get the most out of themselves in different circumstances. Ashley Cole is a player that will leave everything on the pitch.”
Cole, who is also England’s sixth most-capped international of all time with 107 appearances, could be in line to make his Derby debut on Saturday away to third division side Stanley in a fourth round FA Cup game.
— Ashley Cole (@TheRealAC3) January 21, 2019