Birthdate: 8 November 1981
Birthplace: Islington, London, England
Other clubs: West Ham United (1997-2003), Chelsea (2003-10), Lille (loan 2011-12), West Ham United (2 / 2013-14), Aston Villa (2014-)
Bought from: Free Transfer
Signed for LFC: Bosman, 21.07.2010
International debut: 25.05.2001 vs. Mexico
International caps: 56/10 - 27.06.2010
Liverpool debut: 05.08.2010
Last appearance: 26.12.2012
Debut goal: 16.09.2010
Last goal: 09.12.2012
Contract expiry: 04.01.2013
Win ratio: 38.1% W: 16 D: 11 L: 15
Games/goals ratio: 8.4
Total games/goals opposite LFC: 28 / 3
LFC league games/goals: 26 / 3
Total LFC games/goals: 42 / 5
An England international with 56 full caps at the time of his move to Anfield, Cole was already well known by Liverpool supporters as someone who had been a thorn in their side on several occasions, having scored the winning goal for Chelsea against the Reds in both Premier League matches during the 2004/05 season; and also the opening goal in the Champions League semi-final tie two seasons later. Born in London, Cole was one of a number of fine, young English players who came through West Ham United’s youth system in the 1990’s. He was part of the West Ham team that won the FA Youth Cup in 1999 and had also come to the attention of the men who ran the national set-up by scoring seven times in a youth match against Spain. At the start of 2003 Hammers manager Glenn Roeder made Cole his captain at the young age of 21. But West Ham were soon relegated from the Premier League and it was pretty much inevitable that Cole, who had just been named "Hammer of the Year", would move on. Cole joined Chelsea and settled quickly into life at Stamford Bridge, playing in 97 of the maximum 114 Premier League matches in his first three seasons. The second and third of those seasons brought him his first
tangible senior success as Chelsea won and then retained the Premier League title. Cole made a big impression at international level when the World Cup was held in Germany in 2006, scoring a thrilling volley to open the scoring in the group game against Sweden before later creating a goal for Steven Gerrard in the same match.
Injury restricted Cole’s club and international appearances in 2006/07 as he needed surgery on his foot at the start of 2007, but he recovered in time to win an FA Cup-winners’ medal at the end of the season. By the middle of 2008, he had reached a crucial stage of his career playing under new managers; Scolari and Capello, for both club and country. Unfortunately, injury again hit his hopes and he missed the second half of the 2008/09 season after requiring knee surgery. He didn't appear for the first team again until September. Even though his appearances were restricted, he scored a crucial goal at
Old Trafford late in the season in a victory that ultimately saw the Blues regain the Premier League trophy they had relinquished to Manchester United in 2007. Cole’s Chelsea contract ran out at the end of June 2010, at which time he was in England’s World Cup squad in South Africa, a tournament in
which he added to his growing total of international games with two substitute appearances. Cole arrived at Anfield with probably more winners’ medals than any player who has previously signed for Liverpool Football Club. Still the right side of thirty, he was expected to be of good use to the squad with 300+ Premier League appearances and 50+ England caps to his name.
It's fair to say that Cole's debut season as a Liverpool player was far from being the success it was expected to be when he arrived effectively as Roy Hodgson's first signing as the Milan Jovanovic deal had been instigated by the previous manager. Cole's start to his Liverpool career was nothing short of disastrous. Cole's Premier League debut lasted only 45 minutes before he was sent off against Arsenal at Anfield. His next home appearance saw him miss a penalty against Trabzonspor in the Europa League. Cole only started 19 of Liverpool's 54 competitive matches and was a substitute in 13 more. Dalglish gave him his first start in over two months on the final day of the 2010/11 season at Aston Villa but Cole failed to impress. Cole was loaned to French Ligue 1 champions, Lille, for the 2011/12 season. Though disappointed to leave Liverpool it was an exciting move for Cole: “Lille are a club with great pedigree and it’s really exciting to have an opportunity to play in the Champions League again." Cole had a good loan spell even though Lille were unable to successfully defend their title, scoring four times in 32 Ligue 1 matches. Cole, who was according to Brendan Rodgers, signed for "astronomical amount of money", reportedly on £90,000 a week, returned to West Ham on a free transfer in January 2013 with a rumoured pay-off of £3 million, but the club is said to have saved itself at least £3.5 million in wages for Cole for the remaining 18 months of his contract.
Cole made eight first-team appearances for West Ham in 2012-13, scoring twice. He played a part in 25 first-team matches in the following season but only in 11 of those matches did he make the starting team. His 18-month contract with West Ham expired shortly after the end of the 2013/14 season and the club issued a statement saying that they would be releasing the player without offering him a further contract. So Cole became a free agent if he wished to still continue playing at the age of thirty-two and a half. On 10 June 2014 Cole signed a two-year deal to join Aston Villa, where he was an unused substitute in the 2015 FA Cup final.