I’ve been disrespected throughout my career, says Andy Cole



Former Red Devils legend Andy Cole has opined that Manchester United need a striker like Robert Lewandowski, who has the quality to score more than 20 goals season in and season out.

“(Robert) Lewandowski is quality,” says the Old Trafford legend. “He is quality. He will continue to run in there, he will get pretty goals, he’ll get tap-ins, he’ll get every goal.

“When you look at No9s – he is a No9! He wants to score goals, but he wants to get in there where you score those scruffy goals as well.”

“It has changed being a centre forward,” says Cole.

“No one wants to get the scruffy, ugly goals. Everyone wants to put it in the top bin.

“Unfortunately, you only get one goal if you put it in the top bin or it comes off your knee.

“Ultimately when a good No9 does come around, that’s why it’s a premium. There are a lot of guys playing in the Premier League now, getting themselves 12 to 13 goals. Come the end of the season they are worth £60m.

“Ten, 12 goals should be a given in the Premier League. It should be an absolute given!

“In my time playing you had be 20, the season in and season out, to try to get the move you wanted. But now 12 to 15 goals and you’re £60-70m-worth.

“He might only have 10 goals in the Premier League and the other ones might have come in a cup competition and they’re worth that kind of money. That’s how the game has changed. It’s not a case of consistency now.”

Cole has scored 121 goals in 232 appearances for United and is the third-highest scorer in Premier League history, with 187 goals – behind Alan Shearer (260) and Wayne Rooney (208).

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Its also astonishing that Cole’s total came despite his refusal to take penalties, unlike the majority of the players who make up the all-time top 10.

“I always had it when I was younger,” he explains. “I always said when I become a pro, ‘I don’t want to take penalties. I just want to go and score proper goals.’

“If people look at that as arrogance, that’s entirely up to them – but that’s what I said to myself.

“If I’d have taken penalties. I’m not sure how many penalties have been taken at my clubs over my career. On average if you get 10 penalties a season that’s another 10 goals.

“If you’re getting 20 goals a season, that’s 30 goals. If you do that for 15 years, what does that add up to?

“So when people talk about all these other guys in the top 10, how many goals they’ve got – they talk about me like I’m a novice and I never really kicked the ball.

“If you take away everyone’s penalties, a lot of them would fall away and there’s still only one in front of me. So I’m very, very proud of my record. Extremely proud of my record.

“I got one penalty forced on me and another penalty forced on me to take and I missed it.

“Throughout my career people have just shown me a lack of respect. You don’t get to that level of being third now in the Premier League scoring list… I’ve been retired now for 11 years, coming up to 12 years. It’s a lack of respect.

“People want to do that. People want to continue to do that, but I’ll most probably still be there in another five years in the top 10.

“So they can continue to show me that lack of respect as long as they like, but you know when I start smelling the roses, when I’m no longer here, that’s when people start talking about how good you were.”