Cole considering West Ham exit after first-half substitution

Joe Cole could attempt to leave West Ham in January after he was substituted in the first-half of the weekend’s Premier League defeat to Chelsea, the Daily Mail has reported.

Cole was withdrawn before half-time as manager Sam Allardyce attempted to pull back a Chelsea side that strolled into an early two-goal lead. Jack Collison was also given the hook, in favour of Modibo Maiga, while Cole was replaced by Mohamed Diame.

The Mail claims Cole reacted angrily to Allardyce’s decision, “ripping off his shirt and storming down the tunnel” without acknowledging the manager. It was a rare start for the former Chelsea midfielder, who has struggled with injuries since returning to West Ham, his first club, in January.

Cole has made only 21 appearances for the Hammers in the 10 months he has been back at the club following his free transfer move from Liverpool. His spell at Anfield was barely any more productive, and included a season spent on loan at French club Lille after he struggled to win a place under Brendan Rodgers.

The former England midfielder’s West Ham contract expires in the summer and Allardyce has previously said Cole needs to prove he can play a run of games without suffering an injury before the club could consider extending his stay at the Boleyn Ground.

Cole made more than 150 appearances in his first spell at West Ham, from his debut in 1998 to his departure in 2003. He also played almost 300 times in seven years at Chelsea before joining Liverpool in 2010.

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