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Cole keen to repay Hammers for show of faith

PUBLISHED: 07:19 26 November 2008 | UPDATED: 13:49 05 October 2010

CARLTON COLE has vowed to put his off-field troubles behind him after committing his future to West Ham

By JONATHAN CLEGG

CARLTON COLE has vowed to put his off-field troubles behind him after committing his future to West Ham this week.

Cole signed a new five-year contract with the club on Monday after Hammers boss Gianfranco Zola publicly backed the striker to realise his potential at Upton Park.

Now the 25-year-old has revealed he plans to repay his manager's loyalty by emulating the Italian and becoming a model pro.

The Hammers striker has been hit by a drink-driving fine and a three-match ban for a red card against Arsenal during the past two months.

But he has set himself new standards after finalising his new deal.

"It's been turbulent," Cole said of his up-and-down season. "I've always been one to get myself into a bit of bother off the field, but I've tried to calm down now and things are looking more optimistic.

"[I have signed] my new contract this week and I'm really happy that the club have shown a lot of faith in me. I just need to graft between now and the end of the season and try to repay the manager with goals."

Cole has already found the target four times in eight games since the start of the campaign and his impressive early-season form attracted the attention of England manager Fabio Capello.

The Three Lions boss has run the rule over the former Chelsea forward on three separate occasions this season, but while team-mates Matthew Upson and Scott Parker have forced their way into the national team set-up, Cole was omitted from the squad to play Germany last week.

The ex-England Under-21 striker acknowledges that his behaviour off the pitch could have scuppered his hopes of winning his first senior cap in Berlin.

He said: "I did shoot myself in the foot with the drink-driving thing. Mr Capello had come to see us, I think, three games in a row and I was playing well. I'd scored two in three. I was doing all right. Now I need to step my game up off the field.

"I've got this new deal and I've worked hard to get to this stage. It's not just about going out on to the pitch on a Saturday and scoring a couple of goals or even what you do in training. You've got to do things away from the pitch to prove yourself.

"The manager knows me from when we played together at Chelsea. He knows that my heart is in the right place. The boss understands that I don't mean to hurt people or upset my team-mates.

"Even with my sending off against Arsenal. I didn't need to make that last-ditch tackle [on Alex Song]. I let my team-mates down. It was a rush of blood. But he was supportive of me as well, which is why I respect him so much.


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