LONDON, Oct 15 (Reuters) - Had Carlton Cole's career continued its upward curve he may have been leading England's attack against Poland on Tuesday but instead the striker is just pleased to have been handed a second chance with West Ham United.
Former Chelsea player Cole, who has made seven appearances for his country, all as substitute, was allowed to leave West Ham at the end of last season but his career seemed to have stalled when he failed to find another club.
However, a foot injury to West Ham's record signing Andy Carroll meant he was invited back to train with his former team mates and after regaining his fitness has been re-signed on a short-term contract until January.
From finding himself out in the cold, Cole, who scored West Ham's first goal in a promotion playoff final victory over Blackpool in 2012, could even feature against Manchester City at Upton Park this weekend.
"I'm available for selection," Cole told West Ham's website. "I'll train all week with the team and then it's just up to the manager to see what he wants to do. Hopefully, I will make the bench and take it from there."
Cole, 30, knows he has much to prove, having initially been discarded by manager Sam Allardyce.
"If I'm doing the business and doing well and making a difference in the team, we are in good shape and the manager and the chairmen want to keep me on, I'll always be available and hopefully we can crack on after that," he said.
"I've always wanted to prove myself and hopefully, with this second chance at West Ham, I can help the team." (Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond)