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Ashley Cole excited to take step out of comfort zone

By Robert Jones

England defender Ashley Cole is looking forward to having a starring role at Roma.

The 33-year-old was unveiled yesterday to the media at the club's headquarters in Trigoria, Rome, after joining the Italian outfit earlier this month as a free agent.

"I decided to come here in order to continue to play in the Champions League with a great and ambitious club," Cole said.

"I realised how much the club wanted me and that they considered me useful to their project and I jumped at the opportunity.

"I arrive at an ambitious club and hope to win here."

Roma, coached by Rudi Garcia, finished runners-up in Serie A last season.

Cole is accustomed to fighting for titles with Chelsea and before that, Arsenal, and he expects to be in the hunt for the Scudetto with Roma.

"I am not afraid of the pressure to win because I spent 14 years in England always fighting for a starting spot and that's what I want to continue doing," Cole said.

"This is a great challenge and I am ready. I am also ready to fight for a place in the team and to try to win."

Cole signed a two-year deal with Roma after spending eight years at Stamford Bridge.

He won four FA Cups with Chelsea and also helped the Blues win the Premier League title in 2010 as well as the 2012 Champions League.

Cole was a League Cup winner with Chelsea in 2007 and he also helped the Blues prevail in the Europa League under interim manager Rafael Benitez in 2013.

Cole will be the only British player in Italy's top flight after England Under-21 winger Tom Ince turned down the chance to join Inter Milan and signed for Hull City instead.

"Perhaps British players are a little afraid to move abroad," Cole said. "They are accustomed to British culture and for them it is convenient to stay at home.

"But as soon as I had this opportunity, I was glad to get out of London, to face a new language and a new culture.

"I know it's a special atmosphere (at Roma), I immediately realised the passion of the people and their love of this club.

"But this is also the reason why I am here, to experience these emotions and enjoy the city and this adventure."

Belfast Telegraph


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