Carlton Cole: Talentspotter
Carlton Michael George Cole
Striker. I went to Chelsea at 14 as a central midfielder and I think they put me upfront because I was a big lad. I played at the back as well so I’m versatile. I don’t think I had the work rate to be a midfielder. I used to be very lazy until I started training with the big boys and realised I had to buck up my ideas.
Manchester United. I liked Eric Cantona, Andy Cole and Ryan Giggs.
I’m good with the ball at my feet, bringing other people into play and getting into goalscoring opportunities.
I’m pants in the air, which is a poor show because I'm 6ft 3in, but I've been working on it with coaches. My concentration could be better – I have a few lapses.
My debut at Stamford Bridge against Everton. I came on for Jimmy Floyd Hasslebaink and because he'd scored two goals he got a standing ovation, so I was buzzing. My first touch was a shot, so I tried to get it out of my feet as quickly as possible. David Weir blocked it. At least it didn’t go in to Row Z!
Then in my first start against Middlesbrough I scored. Manu Petit crossed it and I headed it into the top corner. It was quality. I didn’t think it would go in because I’ve never ever scored with my head. I tried to run back all the way to the other side where the fans were but I got mobbed by all the lads before I could make it. I should have been knackered but when you’re celebrating you don’t really feel it because the adrenaline takes over.
My uncle was close to turning pro with Tottenham and Chelsea. He wanted me to complete what he never did. I’m just trying to help my family to a better standard of living, because sometimes I feel like we’re struggling. My uncle and the rest of my family have been vital to me. They’ve helped me through the hard times.
Describe yourself as a person
Easy-going, bubbly, but quiet. And I like to have a laugh.
I’ve got a Golf Mark 4. I had another golf, which I bought with leather seats, a good sound system and all that, but I crashed it and wrote it off when I was 17.
PlayStation 2. Any football game, bring it on. I’m not the best though. When I went away with England I came up against the better opposition. Jermaine Pennant and Darren Bent beat me.
Kylie or J-Lo?
J-Lo. She’s got a great body.
Tell us something about yourself
I’m a garage MC and I can also DJ. I’ve just got into it so I'm gonna buy some decks, but my main thing was MC-ing. I even had a little name: Juvenile. I used to tell the Chelsea boys and they used to take the piss out of me.
A funny thing happened...
On my 17th birthday the boys prepared an ice-cold bath. They waited for me after training, mobbed me and put me in. I was freezing to death. Eidur Gudjohnson, Mario Stanic and William Gallas are the biggest stitch-up merchants. I try to keep a low profile. I mingle but I don’t want to be bigging myself up too much yet.
Interview: Louis Massarella. From the August 2002 issue of FourFourTwo.