Joe Cole to make England squad
Joe Cole is now a favourite to make it into England's final 23-man squad and grab one of the last seats on the plane to South Africa, sources have told Soccernet.
Cole, who has admitted he feared he would miss out on the World Cup, has enjoyed a remarkable turnaround in his England fortunes. He is now on the verge of making the final cut but there was doubt as to whether he would even get into Fabio Capello's long list of 30.
A source has said that Cole is now "more likely than not" to be included and won't be one of the unlucky seven receiving a phone call from either Capello or Franco Baldini, his trusted general manager, on Tuesday morning prior to the 1100 BST deadline for declaring the final 23.
Cole owes his presence in the squad to his club manager Carlo Ancelotti who appeared reluctant to play Cole in the latter part of the season when he recovered from injury. But Ancelotti has given Cole a glowing reference.
With his contract expiring, there are doubts over whether he will stay at Stamford Bridge, not necessarily because of better terms offered elsewhere, but because of the suspicion he doesn't fit into the team shape preferred by Ancelotti. Yet Cole pushed his way into the 30 because of a recommendation from the Italian.
A source said: "Yes, Joe Cole may have missed out on selection for the 30, but this is what a manager has to do, make decisions, and Fabio Capello may have made the right one in picking Joe Cole for the 30.
"He did so because his club manager Carlo Ancelotti told him that the player was really fit since his comeback from a long injury, and that he had worked so hard to get himself back into shape, and because of that was at his best ever fitness levels.
"For that reason Fabio Capello opted to take a look for himself, and he saw in the training camp in Austria how hard this payer worked, and how fit he was, and he did well enough in the games as well. Joe Cole is a different player to everybody else, he can play on the wing, but also in the hole and that gives the manager different options."
Joe Cole's inclusion means that there will not be any room for Adam Johnson, and that the World Cup has come just too early for a young player with enormous potential and possible world-class talent.
It has already been a sizeable leap from Middlesbrough to Manchester City, and into the England frame, but Johnson is far too raw at the moment to make it into the final 23. Yet, he has such talent that he is already earmarked for a big England future within the Capello regime, and is sure to figure more prominently in the European Championship campaign.