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The Toe Poke
By ESPN Staff

Ashley Cole out to win over England's boo-boys

Ashley Cole has endured a mixed relationship with England fans - but is determined to win over his critics.

The Chelsea left-back was jeered after a mistake against Kazakhstan in October and he wants to get in their good books with the return trip to Almaty next month and the Wembley clash against Andorra.

"It was difficult when they booed. I'm a normal personal, I'm just like you and just like everyone else - I have feelings and thoughts. So of course it hurt, I'm not going to sit here and say it didn't,'' said Cole, who was speaking on a visit to Raleigh School in Surrey on behalf of England team sponsors Nationwide Building Society.

"But you have to get on with it. It happens in football, you are loved one day and hated the next. You have to get on with it and that's what I've done. I've played the best I have for Chelsea so far. The Chelsea fans are happy and I'd like the same with my country.

"To be honest I don't think I've played bad for England, I've certainly not been as bad as some people say. That criticism has been hard to take.

"I don't think I've let the country down too many times. Of course I had that blip where I gave the ball away but a lot of players have done that, you can't play well every game in football and not make one mistake.

"I'm in a position where if I do give the ball away it's ruthless and you can get punished. I'm learning that now. But if I look over my career I've played 72 games and I think to say I've done well for my country.''

Cole is confident his form means he will eventually be a fans' favourite. He also has the FA Cup final to look forward to before England duty.

He said: "I had a disappointing last year there but I think now I've found my feet. I feel comfortable in the team and when I play I'm just going out to enjoy it.

"I go out and fight for the team and want to win and that's what fans want to see. I've always given my heart and soul to every team I've played for and every game I go into I give everything.

"There's nothing too much more I can do, just play well for Chelsea and England and hopefully it will turn around.''


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