?My mother was a Ballet teacher and in that discipline you have to be able to do anything with either foot and that is how I was brought up although when I was 12-years old I damaged my left ankle ligaments and had to work hard to get back into shape and so practice a lot even to this day, with both feet,? muses the 23-year old.?
Due to his prowess at free-kicks the fans, and team-mates alike, have christened Cole ?Shanninho?, a name that the modest youngster is trying to live down: ?It is a compliment but it?s something I could live without,? he says chuckling away and providing ample evidence of his modest approach to life.
Not many know that Cole had trials with Doncaster Rovers (England) and Maccabi Netanya (Israel) but due to passport problems could not get a run with either team: ?Because I don?t have a European passport it became too much trouble for the clubs, in reality, and work permit problems would have ensued. That said I would relish the opportunity to play overseas of course.? (He has played overseas, for Waitekere United in the New Zealand national league but we know what he means).
With two sisters and a younger brother, he cites his Nan, Valerie, as probably his biggest fan: ?She comes to watch me and it?s great to know she is there in the stands at games. She is a great support.?
Cole has a wonderfully dry sense of humour but also for the slapstick side of things. When asked about his funniest moment in football he recounts a match where a certain player, in his final match in Spain, became a land owner twice from free-kicks. ?Two Acres? he was not too happy in receiving we can only assume?
A supporter of Manchester United, mainly down to Eric Cantona and David Beckham, whom he has trained with, he also mentions Pablo Aimar as people he looks up to in the game. Not particularly decided on a life hero he states that reading biographies of people who have overcome severe adversity to become survivors and better human beings as true heroes which, in this day and age, is an exemplary retort.
This season has seen him playing more as the left-back, the first time in his career he has played in the defensive line, but he believes it has done him some good: ?The coach (Milan Blagojevic) wanted to try me there and I have to say it has helped me mature as a player because now I have to carefully consider when it is time for me to go forward or to sit back in. It?s a new role but a challenging one.?
Having studied Drama in the States, where he met his girlfriend Jackie, would the Primary School Sports Instructor like to ?tread the boards? at some stage? ?It?s a possibility but who knows what?s around the corner? We?ll have to wait and see I suppose.?
And see we will. A delightful young man with a big future, whichever direction he takes it in.
– Micky Brock