Manchester United legend Andy Cole says he will never quit in his health battles, after a kidney failure six years ago left him requiring a transplant.
The former England international, who also lined out at club level for Newcastle United and Blackburn Rovers among other clubs, underwent the kidney transplant in 2017, with his nephew Alexander revealed to be the donor.
Cole, who formed a formidable strike partnership with Dwight Yorke at Old Trafford and helped the club win the Treble in 1999, was speaking on an episode of the UTD Podcast about when he discovered all wasn't as it should be in relation to his health.
💫 Calling from outer space for our latest UTD Podcast, @VanCole9 talks us through:
🔺 His #ThreeLions debut 🏴
🔺 That #UCL goal v Barcelona 🌪
🔺 How he'd fare if he was playing now 👀#MUFC pic.twitter.com/wE527RwW8O
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) October 12, 2020
"I felt ill five years ago. I have been retired for 12 years now. My kidney basically packed up on me. I was in Vietnam for the club, came back, got home and felt a little bit tired.
"I thought it was only jetlag, so I had a couple of paracetamols and went to bed. Tomorrow’s a new day. The day after, I started putting on weight and the weight was ‘rapido weight’. I was saying 'It’s nothing'.
"I remember my ex saying to me 'You’ve put on weight' and I was like “Nah, nah that’s nonsense, absolute nonsense.'
"But the weight became more and more so I called [United doctor Mike Stone], who came around.
"He looked at me and said 'Okay, I’m going to get you to run some tests.' So I went, I think it was a Saturday. He called me first thing Monday morning and he had something going on in his voice.
Kidney disease might not care what team you are on…but we do! Join our team with a regular gift to the #AndyColeFund season ticket and help the legendary footballer @vancole9 combat this silent killer. Sign up now for a limited edition SIGNED postcard. https://t.co/t5jLnkkadm pic.twitter.com/2yUyTaVNiw
— Kidney Research UK (@Kidney_Research) October 4, 2020
"'You need to get to hospital, quickly, they’re waiting for you.'"
Cole says his attitude was and remains to never quit, and revealed his mother had inspired him to keep going.
"I know no better. I had a conversation with my mum, my mum always says 'Whatever you do, you don’t quit.' You can take it from what it is.
"No days are going to be the same, there are going to be tough days but if you quit...
"That’s the easy thing to do, you got to keep your head down and work."
Cole scored 121 goals in his six-year spell with United, leaving him 17th in the club's all-time goalscoring charts.