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Sherwood hopes injured Villa midfielder will be ready for Manchester United

Don't give up on Joe Cole quite yet!

Clive Rose/Getty Images

When Joe Cole joined Aston Villa in last summer's transfer window, it was widely known that the club were getting a skilled player who was injury-prone. Since then, those first thoughts have been confirmed. Thanks largely to injury, Cole has only been named to the match-day squad seventeen times in all competitions, and he has only seen the pitch on ten of those occasions. The fact that those ten appearances have only totaled 377 minutes makes the stat even more depressing.

But Villa manage Tim Sherwood says don't give up on the old man yet! Cole is apparently set to be healthy for the trip to Manchester United in two weekends and Sherwood is keen to get him involved according to quotes in the Birmingham Mail.

"He can score and he can assist. I don't like players who are just out there, I like them to affect football matches. It's just nurturing him through. He's getting no younger and it happened to all of us, but I still think he's got a part to play."

And to his credit, Cole does have one Premier League goal this season for Aston Villa. While that may not seem impressive for most people, it represents just a bit more than 5% of the team's entire total.

Removing my tongue from my cheek for just a minute, it would certainly be nice to have Cole as an option. He certainly isn't in the type of shape to start matches or make extended contributions, but as a sub in the 60th minute or later, he has shown enough creativity and flair to positively affect the team. Sherwood is right: Cole still has plenty to offer. The problem will be that what he can give us needs to come in very short spurts.