Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Cole: I Let Mourinho Down Last Time So I Owe Him One

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Cole: I Let Mourinho Down Last Time So I Owe Him One

Article excerpt

Byline: Sam Wallace in Jakarta

THE story of how Jose Mourinho came to sign Ashley Cole was one of modern football's most divisive stories, beginning in a meeting room of the Royal Park hotel in January 2005 and ending with the most controversial transfer in Chelsea's history 18 months later.

If there was a precedent for Mourinho's current pursuit of Wayne Rooney then it is surely Cole's journey across London from Arsenal to Chelsea which came to a conclusion in the summer of 2006 via one very public Premier League tapping-up enquiry.

Yet even if Rooney joins Chelsea before the end of this transfer window on September 2, the likelihood is that it will never be as poisonous as Cole's move seven years ago.

Today in Jakarta there was a rare appearance in front of the media from Cole alongside Mourinho, just hours after the squad arrived in Indonesia for the third leg of their Asia tour. At 32, Cole has long since closed the door on the English press, not even his 100th cap for England last season warranted a word in public from him, but in Jakarta the locals applauded him in.

Questions about the future of Rooney are off-limits for Chelsea, and in a hotel room packed with more than 500 reporters he was not asked about the player who is arguably his closest friend in the England squad. On international duty, the two of them are often inseparable, and it was put to Cole whether he could ever envisage a scenario where a player might turn down the opportunity to play under Mourinho. Cole said: "For me, of course, I jumped at the chance. He's a great manager. He proved how good he is with the number of trophies he's won with different teams. He's great at motivating players and keeping you on your toes. It's a pleasure to play under him. For me, if he wanted me to come to Chelsea, it would be one thought in my mind: to come here to be under a great manager is an honour. …

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