Newport County AFC’s new loan signing – Charlie Cooper – believes the change of environment at Rodney Parade will help continue his development as a Football League player.
The 5’9” versatile midfielder put pen to paper on a season long loan deal with the club earlier today, which will see Cooper stay at Rodney Parade through to the summer of 2019.
The 21-year old joins the club having experienced his first taste of League Two football last season at parent club Forest Green Rovers, joining them having progressed through the youth ranks at Championship outfit Birmingham City.
He was part of Forest Green Rovers’ successful National League play-off campaign in 2016/17, starting in the 3-1 victory over Tranmere Rovers at Wembley on 14th May 2017.
Here, read what Cooper exclusively told iFollow Exiles on his first day as a Newport County AFC player – including why the manager played such a big part in bringing him to South Wales, why joining the club before pre-season will aid integration into the squad and why he feels the unfamiliar environment at County will help his development moving forward.
On his decision to join Newport County AFC…
“After speaking to the manager, I just knew that this club was the right option for me. I think in terms of how I want to play and how Newport plays, this will be a really good club for me to go to because it will allow me to express myself.
“I just think Mike Flynn is the type of manager that you want to play for. When I spoke to him on the phone, he sold the football club to me straight away.
“He just wants you to have a right go, give everything you’ve got and then hopefully the club will get the rewards for that. That’s what I want to bring to this football club.
“I also saw Jamille Matt signed here the other day and having played against Grimsby Town last season, I can tell you that he is a real handful.
“I think, as a midfielder, having someone like him to play alongside will be really exciting.
“And to go with that, Padraig Amond who also plays up-front, is a really exciting player and a really lively player so he will be another good one to play with.”
On what he is looking to bring to the club during his loan spell…
“I like to get stuck in first and foremost. I like to bring a lot of energy to the matches and get the tempo going on the pitch. Hopefully I can affect the team.
“Last season at Forest Green Rovers was my first season and experience of League Two. I played a number of games, but I was maybe getting a little comfortable there.
“Now, I think I can really go on and start to make the game my own.
“I’m a Newport player now so I just want to help the team as much as I can whilst I’m here. I want to fight for my shirt and help the team.
“It’s all about doing what I can to hopefully push us up the table.”
On joining the club before pre-season and ahead of the curtain raiser against Mansfield Town on August 4th…
“I think it’s a good thing [joining before the official start of pre-season] because you can come in and get to know all the lads before the season starts.
“I can get comfortable within the dressing room before the season starts. If I’m in the team, I can really start to push on then.
“It’s a massive game to start the league season. Going to Mansfield will be tough, I’m sure it will be packed. They’ve got a great backing up at Mansfield, I played their last season with Forest Green and it’s a really good place to go and play football.
“I’m sure we’ll all be up for it – we want to start the season well.”
On his targets for the 2018/19 campaign…
“Looking at last season, I know Newport finished just short of the play-offs and had a really good year, especially in the cup as-well.
“Everyone can see how well the club has done and I think this year, we can hopefully push on and do better. As long as everyone gives 100%, I don’t think there’s any reason why they can’t do that.
“Personally, I just want to help the team as much as possible. Of course, every player wants to play as many games as they can across a season and that is something I will be targeting.
“I won’t be sulking if I’m not in the team, I’ll just give 100% whatever I’m doing in order to help as much as I can.
“It’s a change of environment here at Newport County AFC but I’m really excited to come here and play as many games as possible.”
On what he learnt from playing against the club last season…
“Playing against the club last season definitely influenced my decision to join the football club.
“The way Newport play, the way they get after you especially when they are on the front foot is really aggressive and you could also tell that they had a great team spirit.
“You can tell that a lot of lads were very vocal in the team and they want to help the other players. I think it’ll be great to be involved in an environment like that.
“When we played at Rodney Parade last season, you could tell the fans were really with the players and involved. They get after the players in a good way and I think it’ll be a great environment to play in.
“As long as I’m playing well and giving 100%, I’m sure the fans will get behind me just like they will do with all the other players.
“If you know that you’ve got the fans behind you then it really does help.”