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Jan 8, 2013

Cole 'emotional' after warm welcome

Joe Cole admitted he was "choked" by the rapturous reception that greeted his second debut for West Ham in the FA Cup tie against Manchester United on Saturday.

• Blog: Return of the prodigal

Cole was cheered to the rafters prior to kick-off before receiving a standing ovation as he was substituted in the closing stages and he has conceded the emotion was rippling through him as performed in the No.26 shirt for the first time in almost a decade.

"The reception I got was really emotional for me," Cole told the West Ham website. "I was choked by it, our fans were fantastic and it was really special for me.

"There was a lot of focus on me coming back and I just couldn't wait for the chance to play. I felt as if I was getting stronger as the match went on and that will only come with playing."

Cole's two assists against United so nearly paved the way to a famous Hammers victory before for a last-gasp Robin van Persie goal ruined his dream comeback, yet manager Sam Allardyce is convinced his hugely promising first performance was a sign of things to come.

"We know Joe has that in the locker," says Allardyce. "You don't play for Chelsea and win the Premier League, the FA Cup and play for England 56 times if you don't have that quality.

"The fans made him feel good when he ran on, and more importantly even better when he came off, with even bigger applause and a bigger cheer for what he's done. A player feeling good about who he is playing in front of is a massive bonus."

• Pick your Premier League fantasy squad for the second half of the season now and challenge your friends.

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