Carlton Cole hit his 37th Premier League goal for West Ham in their 2-0 defeat of Cardiff City, and the striker now sits only behind Paolo Di Canio in the record books for goals scored in the Premier League era.

Beleaguered Sam Allardyce had looked to a returning Andy Carroll – back for the Hammers after a lengthy spell on the sidelines – to kick start his side’s ailing season, but it was Cole who got the ball rolling with a strike just before half time to spoil the party for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in his first match in charge of the Bluebirds.

Carroll came on to a raucous reception from the away fans as Cole was forced off with a neck spasm, but even before his untimely exit, he had done enough to force himself back into the reckoning for Roy Hodgson’s World Cup squad this summer. West Ham may have endured a turbulent week before victory on Saturday, but on a personal note, Cole looks to be coming into form just at a crucial time for his country.

Potential England rival Jermain Defoe has struggled to break into the starting line-up for Tottenham and has now opted for a move to Toronto FC. The switch could reignite his season, but it will make it difficult for Hodgson to notice him, even if he were to succeed in a far less competitive league.

Carroll, a fellow contender, is arguably not fit enough to face a series of draining tests in Brazil, while Stoke hit man Peter Crouch appears to have been cast into the international abyss by an England coach still unsure of his favoured eleven just six months before the tournament kicks off.

Hodgson has been accused of experimenting at the worst possible time, when England should be gelling with a settled squad, but since that does not appear to be the case, Cole (and incidentally, fellow Englishman and Hammer Mark Noble, who excelled against Cardiff) is a worthy shout for the summer.

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Carlton Cole
Premier League
Football