Former England midfielder Joe Cole announces retirement from football

Former England and Chelsea midfielder Joe Cole has retired at the age of 37.

Cole, who came through West Ham’s youth system before spells at Liverpool, Lille, Aston Villa and Coventry City, has played for United Soccer League side Tampa Bay Rowdies since 2016.

He scored 10 goals in 56 games for England between 2001 and 2010.

“It has been a dream come true. All of it,” said Cole. “I hope the next two decades are as special as my last 20 years as a professional have been.”

Cole made his West Ham debut aged 17 and became captain four years later.

In 2003, he joined Chelsea, with whom he won three Premier League titles and two FA Cups and reached the 2007-08 Champions League final.

He spent seven seasons at Stamford Bridge, playing more than 280 games in all competitions.

“Winning trophies at Chelsea was particularly special for me,” said Cole. “Those memories will live with me forever.”

Cole also won the League Cup and Community Shield with Chelsea.

He played at the 2002, 2006 and 2010 World Cups, making his final England appearance at the latter tournament in South Africa.

“There are key moments in every professional’s career. One of mine came when I was a young West Ham player,” Cole said.

“A senior pro, who was nearing his own retirement, said to me, ‘Enjoy every game, young man. It goes by in the blink of an eye and you’ll miss it badly after it’s gone.’

“He was right. Those words resonate even more now than they did back then. I tried to play and live by his advice every single day because being a professional footballer is an absolute honour.”

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