Cole ready to prove himself at Lille
New Lille signing Joe Cole says the draw of Champions League football led him to France and insisted he is ready to flourish again after joining the reigning Ligue 1 champions on loan from Liverpool.
Cole, 29, became the first England international to join a French club in two decades when he signed for Rudi Garcia's side on transfer deadline day.
And the former Chelsea midfielder, whose career has stagnated somewhat in recent years, has promised Lille fans that he can become a key player for the club as long as he is given playing time.
Aston Villa, QPR and Tottenham also registered an interest in Cole but once the opportunity to test himself abroad and in the Champions League arose, he claims there was only one possible destination.
"I had offers in England," Cole said. "[But] I know Lille play well, they are a club with a great pedigree and it's really exciting to have a chance to play in the Champions League again. I've always wanted to play abroad.
"I'm glad the move has been completed and I'm looking forward to a different challenge. The support I received from everyone at Liverpool was great and it was a huge honour to have a chance to play at Anfield but things just didn't work out as I hoped unfortunately."
Cole made just nine league starts last season and he admitted it was diffciult to get into his stride after arriving at Anfield to a fanfare last summer.
"There are several reasons why things didn't go well," Cole said. "I didn't play as much as I would have liked and if you added up all the minutes, it must have come to six Premier League games. That wasn't enough. To find my best, all I need is playing time."
Lille will offer Cole the chance to play Champions League football again, something he experienced regularly at Chelsea, with the midfielder immediately endearing himself to the club's supporters by comparing Garcia's outfit to European champions Barcelona.
"The way Lille play reminds me a little bit of Barcelona," Cole said. "They pass the ball quickly and well. [Eden] Hazard is a great player. It will be a great challenge to play for a team that wants to progress. I feel the club are moving in the right direction."
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