Hall of Fame

Shearer and Ferdinand: Imagine Cole's goal tally if he took penalties!

22 Apr 2024
Andrew Cole

Two of the Premier League's greatest goalscorers on why the Hall of Fame inductee was a phenomenal player

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Two of the Premier League's greatest goalscorers, Alan Shearer and Les Ferdinand, have paid tribute to the "phenomenal" Andrew Cole after the legendary striker was inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame

Cole has been chosen as one of three 2024 inductees, entering the home of the greats alongside Ashley Cole and John Terry

Shearer and Ferdinand, both of whom played alongside Cole for England, and against him in the Premier League, say Cole should be considered among the greatest ever goalscorers.

"When you're inducted into that Hall of Fame, there's a reason why you're in there. It's because of what others feel and think about you and because of what you've achieved in your career," says Shearer, the Premier League's record goalscorer and one of the inaugural Hall of Fame inductees.

"We’ve been blessed with some incredible footballers in the Premier League from 1992 when it started to now in 2024. Andrew Cole has been put into that list and that bracket because he was a great goal scorer. He was a natural goal scorer and made it look very, very easy, when we all know it's the most difficult part of the job!"

Ferdinand says: "He deserves it without a shadow of a doubt. He’s been retired well over 10 years and he’s still the fourth-highest goal scorer in the Premier League. Look at Andy’s achievements as a player, he’s won everything he could possibly win domestically.

"Every club that he’s been at people will look at him as a legend. Everywhere he’s gone people will look at him as a great student while he was at the club and I think that’s one of the highest accolades you can have as a player."

Cole scored 187 goals in the Premier League and won five titles, a Golden Boot and a famous Treble with Manchester United in 1998/99. 

Few know better about finding the back of the net than Shearer, whose 260 goals make him one of only three players to score more in the competition than Cole. 

Shearer says Cole was born to score.

"He [Cole] made goalscoring look very easy when it is not!" says Shearer. "He was an instinctive finisher, one of those where he just didn't have to think, it just looked as if it came naturally to him. Scoring goals from every single position - from different angles, left foot, right foot, volleys, everything. He was as good as there was at that particular time when he was playing.

"When you look at the goals he scored and the number, it is phenomenal. You see why he has the respect that he has within the game. We all understand what a great goal scorer he was."

Incredibly, only one of Cole's goals came from the penalty spot, meaning he ranks second in Premier League history for non-penalty goals, one ahead of Wayne Rooney and just 18 behind Shearer.

"He never took penalties, never wanted to take penalties," Shearer explains. "I've had that conversation with him, and I find it difficult to understand why. I mean, his goals record is phenomenal anyway, but you can imagine how much better it would have been if he had taken more penalties."

Ferdinand echoes Shearer, saying Cole would easily have surpassed 200 Premier League goals had he taken penalties.

"If you’re conservative and say three penalties a season at any one club, and as a conservative estimate, over a 10-year period, that’s another 30 goals that you’ve probably left on the table," says Ferdinand, who is the player with the most goals in Premier League history without any coming from a penalty, with 149.

"Even if you discount five of because you might miss a couple, but that’s another 25 goals added to the tally.

"It just goes to show how prolific he was as an individual to score 180-odd goals without any penalties, just phenomenal, absolutely phenomenal."

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