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Andy Cole on England, United and the Prem

We caught up with Andrew Cole at the TAG Heuer Premier League Pressure Test, to talk about the new-look Manchester United side, the state of the prem and whether England are under performing...  

What do you think of Manchester United under Mourinho?

Looking good at the moment. I know there’s a long way to go but they’ve started the season very well. Which is half the battle.

Is it a team you’d want to play in?

I’m very lucky. I played for a fantastic team under Sir Alex Ferguson. I’d like to play for any Manchester United team that enjoy playing the game of football and go out and win games.

What’s United’s objective this season?

To win the premier league, for sure. That’s Manchester United’s goal every season. The players will believe they’re good enough to go ahead and win it, but there are a few teams that believe they can do the same thing. They’ve started well so far. I think it’s going to be another exciting premier league.

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What do you think about United’s new players?

They’ve all made a good start. Bailly at the back has made a good start. Zlatan has been very, very good so far. Mkhitaryan. He looked good preseason, he’s picked up a knock but you know he’s quality even if he’s not starting many games at the moment. If you look at United in general, Pogba is there too, there’s a massive, massive state of intent. I’m looking forward to this season.

Young players such as Marcus Rashford seem to be under a lot of pressure to perform these days. How did you cope with that pressure?

I don’t think Marcus is under any pressure at all. He’s a young man, he got in the team, did very, very well. If you asked him at the start of the season ‘did he believe he’ll be in the Manchester United team at the start of the season’ he’d have said no. He’s a young man learning his trade.

He’s taken his opportunity with two hands and he’s done very, very well. Now, I don’t look at him and say he’s under any pressure, because he’s not. When he goes out there, he just goes out and enjoys himself. That’s mostly why he’s getting the goals he’s getting, because he’s going out there playing as if he’s playing for the under 21s. Go and enjoy it. It makes it a lot easier when you go out and enjoy yourself and don’t thin too hard abut things.

Are you more excited by Mourinho’s playing style?

Definitely. It’s more exciting. Everybody can see that. The way Mourinho has come in, the way the lads have played football; it’s been better than the past two years.

Do you believe the Premier League is the best league in the world?

I’m not sure the premier league is the best league in the world. The most entertaining league in the world? Yeah. The best? I’m not sure it’s that. You get a lot of excitement form the Premier League, you get a lot of goals.

But when you’re talking about being the best league in the world I’m not sure, because when it comes to big European competitions, English teams are no longer figuring. And you can’t be the best league in the world if you aren’t figuring in Europe. So I’m not sure about best, but most entertaining? Yeah.

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Did you catch the England game? What do you think about Sam Allardyce?

I didn’t see the game. If Sam’s been given the opportunity to manage England the way he wants to manage England. Hopefully he’ll do a good job.

A lot of people think England are under performing. What’s your take?

I wouldn’t even say England are underperforming. I think England are not as good as people are making them out to be. When it comes to major tournaments, if you look those major teams that get to the major finals, they’re good enough to get there. They’re good enough to stick to their system – what they believe is good for their players and their country. But they’re changing their system every other year.

When England find their ID again – how they want to play, and how they can get the best from the English players – maybe they can progress and start winning major tournaments, if they get to that stage.

Have you ever thought about coaching?    

I think about it all the time. It’s just a case of getting the in. You need someone to give you an opportunity to get involved in it. That gets the competitive juices flowing and you want to crack on from there.

Is it a difficult thing to break into?

It is if you look at ethnic minorities getting into coaching or management, it is very difficult, as you know. So yeah it is a difficult thing to get into.

Is there a particular kind of management or coaching role that interests you?

Who knows. Whatever opportunity comes about I’d look at it. I’m not going to sit here and say ‘I want to be a manager’ or ‘I want to be this’.  If the opportunity came about, I’d look at it and get involved and if the competitive juices go the way you want them to go, you’ll stay involved in it.

What stands out as the best moment in your career?

I enjoyed it all, you know? I was fortunate enough to be in the treble-winning team – that was a fantastic team. I enjoyed it for over 20 years, I enjoyed every single minute of it. 

Any low points?

In football there a lows and highs, that’s what makes it such a special game. You play and have lows and play and have highs that’s football.

You constantly learn when it comes to football.

Andy Cole was speaking at the TAG Heuer Premier League Pressure Test. TAG Heuer is the first ever Official Timekeeper and Official Watch of the Premier League. www.tagheuerpressuretest.com 

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