Against Liverpool FC, Former England midfielder Joe Cole has become a bit-part player for Aston Villa but hopes to add another couple of warm Wembley experiences to his memory bank and help his side claim some long-awaited silverware.
The 33-year-old, who played at the original Wembley for England’s schoolboys before it was bulldozed and also featured in three triumphant FA Cup finals at the rebuilt stadium for Chelsea, is fit again and relishing the chance to play a role in Sunday’s semi-final against Liverpool.
“I’ve played in a few games there — cup finals, semi-finals and a few games for England,” Cole told Villa’s website (www.avfc.co.uk).
“The majority of my England career was at the time when we played on the road so only one of my England goals was at Wembley. But I’d love to play there again.”
Cole has made only 13 appearances for Villa this season and came off the bench to help secure a 1-0 win at Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday — a result that eased the club’s relegation fears and allowed them to look forward to the Liverpool clash.
“Yes, we still want to secure our future in the Premier League but how can you not get excited?”, Cole said.
“After the Champions League, (the FA Cup) is the biggest cup competition in the world. I’d prefer to win the FA Cup than, for instance, the Europa League.
“It has more prestige worldwide in my opinion.”
Villa have not won a trophy since the 1996 League Cup and you have to go back to 1957 since their last FA Cup win.
Few of the club’s youthful squad have any big-match experience of Wembley which is why Cole’s return to fitness is a timely boost for manager Tim Sherwood.
“It is a special game so you’ve got to be clever. But it is nothing to be afraid of,” Cole said.
“These games are about being mentally prepared. It does sap your energy — it is not like a normal game because of the build-up and everything.
“The boys will relish it. I know they will.”