West ham Coach: Joe Cole the Best

West Ham United academy chief Tony Carr rates Chelsea midfielder Joe Cole as the most naturally-gifted young player he came across.

Carr is the head of West Ham’s famed youth academy system, which means Rio Ferdinand, John Terry, Glen Johnson, Frank Lampard, Joe Cole, Michael Carrick and Jermain Defoe passed under his guidance and tonight the majority will be back in east London to pay tribute to their former mentor who is being rewarded for his 37 years of loyal service with a testimonial match.

And in terms of natural talent, Carr told the Daily Mail Cole was the stand-out: “He had a God-given talent that marked him out from a very early age. Rio Ferdinand had technical talent but also supreme athleticism. He could bound, he could jump, he could sprint, and the physical side of the game came very easily to him.”