COLE: CONFIDENT AND CARRYING ON
Barring injury, there is a good chance Ashley Cole next month will reach the milestones of 300 games for his club and 100 caps for his country.
That would be testament to many things: his talent, his consistency, his enduring ambition, his fitness levels and his physical robustness included. When it comes to Chelsea it also shows just how much he enjoys being at the club where he has won eight pieces of silverware, and having yesterday (Tuesday) signed a one-year contract extension, he will have the opportunity to add significantly to that total of Chelsea appearances.
Speaking to the official Chelsea website, Cole is pleased he can clear his head of thoughts about where he will be playing his football next season. Now he is concentrating purely on achieving more success on the pitch.
'When you are going through this kind of thing, of course you always want to stay here but it was also in my mind that I could be leaving a club where I have great memories, and have enjoyed great times,' he says.
'I feel I have a good relationship with the people at the club and the fans and it would have been sad if I had had to leave, so I am glad I have signed for one year.
'When I joined Chelsea I just wanted to try to be successful and win trophies and as player you don't really realise how many games you play each season, but to play nearly 300 in total is brilliant for me, and hopefully I'll play some more.'
Cole has reached 40 games or more in each of his six completed Chelsea seasons so far apart from 2009/10 when a fractured ankle limited him to 35. He has started 48 games twice and has already played 32 times this season.
'I feel fit,' he declares. 'Everyone was always saying about my ankle in the past but it has not been an issue. I feel healthy and the physios at Chelsea are brilliant, they look after you and there are great facilities. It is a tough league and very demanding but I think I can keep going for a few more seasons yet.'
The first challenge for Cole and his team-mates is tonight and it is stiff one - overturning a deficit in front of what is likely to be a vociferous Swansea support. There are however plenty of reasons why the Blues can go into the game with belief.
'We have had some up and down results because we lost to QPR at home and drew with Southampton, but we came back and showed where we are at by beating Arsenal.
'Now we have tough game against Swansea with the chance to be in a final but when you look back at the home game, we had about 20 chances and I don't think they had too many shots on target, only ones from our mistakes, so we are going to go there confident. We know we have to score as many goals as we can and try not to concede.'