0 users online

Zola has to fine West Ham striker

last updated Friday 26th September 2008, 7:43 AM
Gianfranco Zola
Gianfranco Zola

Carlton Cole will be fined by West Ham for a breach of club discipline after he was arrested by police while out driving in the early hours of Tuesday.

The 24-year-old striker was stopped in his Audi Q7 on Victoria Embankment near the River Thames at 4.25am.

He was given a roadside breath test and taken to a nearby police station, where he was later bailed to return in mid-November.

West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola said he was "very disappointed" Cole had been out so late but was confident the former England Under-21 international had learned his lesson.

"I spoke to him and he is very sorry at being out at such a time," said Zola.

"He wasn't drunk, which was a very good thing. He has just been out late in the night.

"He will be fined, he knows that. We are going to deal with it but the player understood 100% that he made a mistake. He is ready to take the fine the club is going to give him."

Zola has been impressed by Cole's development, both on and off the field, since he last encountered him as a team-mate at Chelsea.

Last weekend Zola suggested Cole had the potential to play for England after his performance as a lone striker in West Ham's 3-1 victory over Newcastle.

Now Zola has warned Cole any international aspirations could be scuppered by a lack of discipline.

"I am disappointed with him but that doesn't take away all the chances that he has got," said the Italian.

"He knows that he can't do this kind of thing, especially if he wants to achieve high levels. If he wants to play for the national team he can't afford to do things like that.

"He has realised and he is very sorry for that.

"Carlton is a changed player. He is very much matured. He knows he has got a great chance and I am sure he is going to take it."

Zola has not slapped a strict curfew on his team but he does demand the players are on top form in training each day.

The Italian is known for his clean living and he helped mentor John Terry in the early days of his career at Stamford Bridge.

"We are professional sports players and we have to look after ourselves and look after our bodies," he said.

"During the week our training sessions are very demanding so they can't afford to go out and stay late. For me that is a very important matter. I am not going to close an eye on things like that. The players know that already.

"I used to go early to bed and wake up very early but that was my rhythm. Everybody has got their own rhythm.

"I am not saying everybody has to go to bed at 11pm but it has to be reasonable. This time was too late.

"The players have to realise that if they want a clear mind and a fresh body in training they have to have at least eight hours sleep."

Critics claimed Zola could be too nice to be a top flight manager - but his decision to crack down on Cole's indiscretion gives him the chance to prove otherwise.

"Being nice doesn't mean that I am stupid," he said.

"I have a responsibility and I will take it seriously. I have to take decisions. I have to look after a balance here and if somebody makes a mistake I am ready to be the one who forces people to do things in the right way.

"When I was at Chelsea, not everything was perfect. Some players made mistakes and they paid for it.

"Every now and then you can make a mistake, it is normal, but as long as it doesn't become a habit because you are spoiling your chances and your team's chances.

"I am 100% certain Carlton Cole realised this."

Source sporting life
Since 1998
"It's been updated!"