Ashely Cole has claimed English players are happy to stay in their comfort zone rather than test themselves abroad after his move to Roma.
The 33-year-old left back has become England's only current representative in Italy's Serie A and becomes the first Englishman to make a permanent move there since Jay Bothroyd signed for Perugia in 2003. Ex-England International Cole has signed a two-year contract with the option of a third, after spending eight seasons with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Cole weighs in
England manager Roy Hodgson suggested the national team would benefit if more players playing abroad after his sides disappointing World Cup campaign. Cole, who was left out of Hodgson's World Cup squad, has now suggested that English players would rather take the easy option rather than test themselves abroad.
"English players are probably scared to come abroad," said Cole.
"They feel in their comfort zone in the UK. This is a chance for me to try a different language, culture and way of living. As soon as I spoke to [Roma’s coach Rudi] García and I saw how much they wanted me here at Roma I jumped at the chance. I’ve always had a good relationship with José Mourinho but I was no longer useful to his project at Chelsea.
“I came here to play in the Champions League. Roma is an ambitious club, it’s a challenge for me and I’m prepared to fight for my place. Hopefully we can do something special here next season and win Serie A.”
Opting for Roma
Cole has won everything there is to win in his time in England and had numerous offers to choose from, including the opportunity to finish his career in the MLS, but wanted to keep playing Champions League football and continue at the top level of the game.
He said: "I'm not afraid of pressure. I noticed the fans' passion and love as soon as I landed. I'm going to enjoy my time here. I feel fit, I kept myself busy in pre-season but I still have a bit to go. Hopefully I'll be fully fit when I come back from America."