Date: 14th September 2017 at 7:57am
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Attending a recent Soccerex Global Convention, one of our writers, Imran Azam, was fortunate to be able to grill the former Manchester United striker, Andy Cole, on a variety of subjects.

Imran, on the back of his chat with Andy Cole, sent in the following article, here at Vital Manchester United we hope you enjoy it.

Talking With Andy Cole

Andy Cole believes Romelu Lukaku`s goals can go “a long way” towards helping Manchester United win the Premiership.

The ex-Old Trafford legend is of the opinion that the former Chelsea and Everton striker`s seamless transition into his new surroundings gives Jose Mourinho – who sold the player to Everton from Chelsea in 2014 – an “excellent opportunity” to take the Premier League trophy away from Stamford Bridge.

The Belgian`s reunion with the Portuguese manager, at a cost £75 million, raised a few eyebrows. However, the 24-year-old has begun to justify such a large fee by finding the back of the net on four occasions from four league starts – including two on his debut against West Ham.

“You know what you get with him. He`s a proven goalscorer, it`s as simple as that,”
says Cole.

“It`s important, especially for a centre forward, to score quickly as possibly for his new team. It settles your nerves, gets the fans on your side and gives you sky high confidence. Lakaku will go into each game with the mindset that he`s unplayable which is not good news for the other teams.

“He will get you between 20 and 25 goals which would give United a good chance of winning the title. But it`s important that others chip in and there isn`t too much reliance on one player. He can only do so much on his own. Others will need to contribute and play their part.”

With 121 goals in 275 appearances for United, Cole is currently fulfilling an ambassadorial role at his former club. He rejected the notion, from some fans and commentators, that Lakaku has a tendency to “hide” against the “bigger teams”.

“That`s not a description I recognise,” he continues. “When you`re up against the top four teams then yes, you probably do get less chances to score, but to say that he hides or disappears isn`t accurate. It`s not something I buy. He`s proved his worth wherever he`s played.”

Whilst excited by Lukaku`s early impact Cole struggles to contain his delight over Zlatan Ibrahimovic re-signing a one-year contract.

Despite the 35- year-old scoring 28 goals last season in what was his first in English football, there were those who felt he was “too slow”, which led to the team lacking potency in the final third. Others felt that the Swede was an overpowering figure leading to some of his teammates feeling overawed in his presence and therefore reluctant to “step up”. Supporters of such a theory point out to the marked improvement of Paul Pogba who has cut a more imposing figure since Ibrahimovic`s absence from injury.

Any suggestion that the former Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain forward was having a detrimental impact was quickly dismissed by Cole.

“Listen you won`t hear any criticism coming from me when it comes to Ibrahimovic,” he continued. “I love everything about him. He had plenty to say before he joined United and lot of people were waiting for him to fall flat on his face but he backed it all up. He believes in himself.

“It`s shame he got injured but he`s here for another season and his presence can only benefit the team. He has so much to offer on and off the pitch. The young players in particular will learn so much from him. It`s a win-win situation for everyone.”

Speaking at the recent Soccerex Global Convention in Manchester, the third highest goalscorer in the Premier League, was unable to suppress his frustration at the number of black players who had gone on to become managers.

Cole is adamant that “very little has changed” in the past decade and he saw “no point” in applying for managerial vacancies.

He added that he felt “disrespected” when he was told how to score goals by a retired police officer at a particular coaching course.

“I would never tell him how to do his job in the police, yet he was telling me about being a centre forward,” he says. “I told him that with the greatest of respect don`t tell me to do something I have done all my life.

“You shouldn`t get a job just for being white or black but because you`re good enough to do it. But everyone should be given a fair opportunity which is not the case right now and has not been for a long time.”