Garcia insists Cole still 'important' for Roma

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Roma coach Rudi Garcia insists there is still room in the side for Ashley Cole, pictured, amid media speculation he could be tempted by a January transfer to the Major Soccer League (AFP Photo/Paul Ellis)
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Milan (AFP) - Roma coach Rudi Garcia insisted there was still room at the Serie A side for Ashley Cole amid media speculation the former Arsenal and Chelsea striker could be tempted by a January transfer to the Major Soccer League in the United States.

Cole's failure to settle in Italy's top flight has led to his demotion to the Roma bench and allowed German-born Greek international Jose Holebas to tighten his grip on the left-back position.

Former England international Cole was run ragged by Arjen Robben during a 7-1 Champions League drubbing to Bayern Munich in October and since then has featured only sparingly for the Serie A title challengers.

Once considered one of the strongest left-backs in the world, Cole is rumoured to be considering his options having last played in a 2-1 away win over Atalanta last month.

But Garcia insisted: "Ashley is doing fine, he's a professional. He's simply up against the fact Jose (Holebas) is doing very well at the moment. He's been great in the last few games.

"He (Cole) remains an important player for us."

Roma, who sit three points behind leaders and champions Juventus, face a tough trip away to third-placed Genoa later on Sunday.

Garcia's men crashed out of the Champions League following a 2-0 defeat to Manchester City in midweek and have dropped into the Europa League.

With the Giallorossi entering the Italian Cup fray with a last 16 tie at home to Empoli on January 20, Garcia added: "... we'll be giving it everything we have on all three fronts: Serie A, Europa League and Coppa Italia."