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Before Wayne Rooney

and after Michael Owen, Joe Cole was the golden teenager of English football. Unlike Owen and Rooney, it took Cole a while to break through, but he’s kicking down the door at the World Cup. Playing in a midfield with three world class stars — Lampard, Gerrard, and Beckham — the 24 year-old Cole has been the pick of the group, and indeed the pick of the English squad. His man-of-match performance in yesterday’s 2-2 draw against Sweden included a goal and an assist. The goal was a wonder-strike, easily the best I’ve seen in the tournament.

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