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Ashley Cole: Silencing the boo boys?

Ashley Cole, the man everyone loves to hate. The boo boy of Arsenal fans and England fans in general. The best left back in Europe, as any Chelsea fan will tell you.

Delivering a kick up the arse...

A few days ago, UEFA released their 2010 Team of the Year. Our own Mr. Cole was the only England player and the only player in the entire Premier League to win a spot on the team. The Team of the Year is actually chosen by users on the UEFA site, so I'm pretty surprised and rather pleased that football fans can put whatever bad feelings they have about Cole personally aside and, perhaps begrudgingly, recognize his ability as a left-back.

For years, we've watched and praised Cole for his consistency and enthusiasm to join in the attack without sacrificing his defensive duties. We all of course remember the sumptuous long ball from JT to Cole last season against Sunderland, beautifully brought down by Cole, moved to his other foot away from the defender, and fantastically finished with the outside of his boot. He plays through the boo's from opposition fans, and the derision only seems to make him work harder. He may have his few off days and make mistakes, but I can't recall him every having a truly awful match for the Blues (okay, there was that back pass to Petr Cech a couple months ago against Sunderland, but we were lost at that point anyway). His ability and link-up with an in-form Malouda is part of what has made our left side so dangerous and thus made other teams so aware and eager to make us work down the right and become completely disoriented instead.

The UEFA poll is supposed to take into account both the European and international competitions, another interesting factor considering we were knocked out of the Champions League early and England had a pretty woeful World Cup. It just goes to show how many England players emerged with their reputations damaged after South Africa that Cole, so derided by England fans, is also up for the England Player of the Year prize on the FA website. (Hey, I thought Super Frank came out of that relatively unscathed as well, but people still refuse to give him any recognition...)

Maybe the recognition is a step in the right direction to finally keeping the boo boys quiet...

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