Joe Cole would happily stay at Coventry for the rest of the season and will not hang up his boots even if his Premier League career is over.
Cole, on loan at Coventry from Aston Villa, made his first appearance at League One level in the Sky Blues’ 0-0 draw at Rochdale on Tuesday.
Despite a career which has seen him play for Liverpool, West Ham, Chelsea and Lille, as well as claim 56 caps for England, Cole was impressed by the quality at Spotland.
“There are very good players at this level,” he told the Coventry Telegraph.
“The Premier League is as strong as it has ever been and I think it filters down.
“I’m excited for the challenge. I’ll be sore this week because as much training as you do you can’t mimic game time and the older you get the more you need continuity rather than dipping in and out.
“So I need games and maybe I’ll get 75-80 minutes at Swindon (this weekend) and by the end of the month I’ll be better than at the start.”
Cole, who turns 34 next month, has initially joined Coventry on a 35-day loan but is already considering the prospect of extending his stay until the end of the season.
“I want to be here for the long term,” he said. “I have enjoyed my time already, I’m impressed with the club and it’s nice to play football in a competitive game and play for points.
Asked if he feels he still has a future at Villa and the Premier League, Cole added: “I’ve not given it that much thought.
“I’m not ruling anything in and I’m not ruling anything out. I’m just building up my fitness and trying to give as much as I can to this team while I’m here.
“I’d be very happy if I stayed here until the end of the season and come with this project. I’d also be happy if something else happened but, to be honest, I would like to stay here and see it out.
“Sometimes these things are out of your hands but we’ll have a view at the end of the 35 days and see where we are then.”
Irrespective of whether Cole can get back into the Premier League, he has no intention of hanging up his boots any time soon.
“The clock’s ticking,” he said, “but I’m a big believer in taking advice off ex players and every one of them has told me to play as long as I can.
“If the opportunity isn’t there to play in the Premier League then I’ll come down here. I feel like a kid again.
“I don’t need to prove myself because what I have achieved in the game will stand with me forever. I have been very lucky to play at the level I have and win nearly everything in club football.
“I just want to play football. I will get better over the five or six weeks and hope to help win games for Coventry.”