Ray Winstone believes Chelsea and Jose Mourinho played a part in Joe Cole’s ‘downfall’.
West Ham academy product Cole was the ‘next big thing’ in his teenage years, as Europe’s biggest clubs chased his signature and the nation had high hopes for the London-born attacker.
Cole – now 34 years old and playing in League One with Coventry City – went on to win three FA Cups, three Premier League titles and two League Cups in a seven-year career with Chelsea after leaving Upton Park in 2003.
He earned 56 caps with England in a career ravaged by injury, a feat surpassed by fellow youth-team stars Frank Lampard and Rio Ferdinand.
And, when asked about not matching the careers of some other players in Tony Carr’s West Ham youth team, Hollywood star and avid Hammers fan Winstone told the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast. “I think it’s down to him going to Chelsea to be honest.
“They tried to change his game.
“When you have a player that great – I remember watching Manchester United coming to Upton Park.
“Their midfield was probably the best in Europe at the time – and we had Michael Carrick, [Frank] Lampard and Joey Cole. We were 2-0 down at half-time and Joey Cole took them apart in the second half.
“This kid, he got the ball and he ran at people.
“When he went to Chelsea, Mourinho tried to make him get back and defend. When you have a player of that quality, you don’t want to change his game.
“I think that was the downfall of Joe Cole – although he had a fantastic career.”