Having a suitable role model to look up to is a must for any young professional footballer.
And during his formative years as a Chelsea youngster, Ben Gordon could not have wished for a better left-back than Ashley Cole to aspire to.
The Colchester United defender spent six years as a youngster at Stamford Bridge, where he established himself as a regular reserve-team player.
During that time, he was able to watch Cole at close hand, at a time when the former England defender was at the top of his game for club and country.
Cole won every domestic honour under the sun, during his successful eight-year spell with the Blues.
And as he continues to settle into his new life at Colchester, Gordon says he learnt a lot from the Roma defender.
Gordon said: “When I was at Chelsea, we would sometimes train with the first team squad.
“Ashley also had time to speak to me and try and help me to improve my game.
“He had a little word in my ear after training sometimes and gave me a bit of advice and that went a long way.
“He was probably the best left-back in the world at the time and there wasn’t a better role model for me to look up to.”
Gordon has made a solid start to life at Colchester, following his summer move from Scottish Premier League side Ross County.
The 23-year-old, who signed a two-year deal with the U’s, is looking forward to the challenge of taking on high-flying Peterborough United tomorrow.
“I was delighted to join Colchester and return to England,” said the Bradford-born defender.
“It’s been great so far and it’s been good to play so many games early on in the season.
“Everyone’s looking forward to the Peterborough game and it’s a case of staying strong and playing the same way.
“We’re at home and these are the sort of games that you want to play in.
“If you look at the games that we’ve played, I think there’s an argument that we could have taken something from any of them.
“We’ve been close in a lot of games and on a different day, we could be sitting here having won four or five of them.
“We all feel that that first win is coming and it’s just a matter of time.”
For a full preview of Colchester United's clash with Peterborough United tomorrow, see Friday's Daily Gazette.