Cole concentrating on England

RUSTENBURG, South Africa - Joe Cole is just glad to be part of the England World Cup team and will leave to task of finding a new club to his agent after Chelsea confirmed his departure on Wednesday.

The confident and jocular England midfielder, who looked unlikely to be selected for these finals only a few months ago despite being one of the outstanding performers in 2006, said he was focussed on shining for Fabio Capello's side.

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"That's all that is in my mind now," he said. "I've worked hard to be here and I'm leaving all the rest of it to my agent... It's been going on for a while, but that is a story for another day. Right now, I am just happy to be here. And if I play it will be fantastic."

Cole, 28, has been at the London club since 2003 but media reports said Chelsea balked at wage demands put at more than 100,000 pounds a week for one of their most popular players.

Cole failed to hold down a regular place for Chelsea, England's double-winning club champions and cup-holders, during an injury-hit season.

He underwent surgery on a knee last year and after months of recovery work found it difficult to regain a starting position for his club - and at the same time he lost his place in the England squad.

But during those difficult times, Cole said, he never lost faith in himself, even when he accepted that he may not be able to force his way back into Capello's favour.

"No, I never feared my England days were over," he told reporters. "I am very confident in my ability, but it was tough for the manager to pick me when I wasn't playing regularly, rightly or wrongly, at club level.

"Yes, for this tournament I knew I might not make it, but not that it (international career) was over. Now, there is a chance I could be playing against America and for me that is fantastic."


"Now I am back to my best and want to show it at this World Cup and play better than I did at the last one."

He added that Capello, in contrast to all the previous England managers he had worked with, kept the players "on their toes" with his discipline, training and selection methods.

"The great thing with this squad now, which is different to the whole of my England career, is that you don't know who this manager is going to pick," he said.

"This is good and, in my experience, from club level, I've always found when that is the case, and players are not picked on reputation, but on form, fitness and temperament, these are the things that get a better team ethic and the team gels together."

The working squad included winger Shaun Wright-Phillips again on Wednesday after recovering from a knee injury, but not midfielder James Milner. He was absent for a second day running, but trained in the gym with defender Ledley King.

Veteran goalkeeper David James, 39, also trained - despite a slight knee injury