Ashley Cole ready for fresh Championship challenge

Former Arsenal star, Ashley Cole admits he is stepping out of his comfort zone to play for pal Frank Lampard at Derby .

Free agent Cole has joined the Championship Rams on a deal until the summer. The left-back is now targeting promotion under his old Chelsea team-mate Lampard , whose side are sixth in his debut season as a nboss.

Cole, who won 107 England caps and 13 major trophies, was a free agent after leaving LA Galaxy in November.

Cole,38, said: “I had a conversation with Frank one-two months ago. He said: ‘would I be interested in coming here?’.

“I have kept in touch with Lamps and seen how good the team has been playing and followed Derby. For me it was a no-brainer to come here and hopefully push for promotion. But it is going to be a challenge.

“I have not played in England for five years and it is a good tough league with strong players. So for sure I am coming out of my comfort zone.

“I could have stayed in the MLS and relaxed but I wanted to come here to fight for promotion which would be great for the club and Lamps and me. I wouldn’t have come back to too many other teams.”

Cole and Lampard were team-mates at Stamford Bridge for eight years. Cole added: “I respect him so much from when I played with him and what he done in a little time here, it has been fantastic.

“He is now my boss and it is not like I have come here to take short-cuts. I have to get my head down and train hard and work hard.”