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INTERVIEW | Ollie Cooper: "The manager is willing to give young players a chance to show what they can do"

1 September 2021

Ollie Cooper revealed he was given a glowing reference by Brandon Cooper before opting to join Newport County AFC.

The Swansea City midfielder completed a loan move to County on deadline day and will spend the rest of the season at Rodney Parade.

Cooper was one of 15 arrivals who made the switch to the Exiles in the summer transfer window and follows in the footsteps of several former Swans.

The 21-year-old knows defender Aaron Lewis and striker Courtney Baker-Richardson - another summer arrival - from their time together at the Liberty Stadium.

But it was Cooper’s namesake Brandon, who enjoyed a successful loan spell at Rodney Parade in the first half of last season’s campaign, who convinced him to link up with the Exiles for the new campaign.

“Brandon Cooper was here last season and I spoke to him a lot about the club,” said Cooper.

“He said that he loved being part of the group and spending time with the players, so it was an easy choice for me when I heard they were interested. I just wanted to get it done as soon as possible so I could come down.

“It’s always good when you’re going into a new club to know a few players before you arrive. I know Courtney and I’ve played with Aaron for Swansea and Wales, so it makes it a little bit easier coming into the dressing room.”

Michael Flynn hasn’t been shy in giving youth a chance since he took over at Rodney Parade in 2017, with the Exiles boss fielding several academy players in the Papa John's Trophy win against Plymouth Argyle on Tuesday evening.

And Cooper, who was handed his first start for the Exiles just hours after joining the club, says Flynn’s record of handing youngsters opportunities played a part in his decision to join the club.

“You can see the manager has given some of the young players like Brandon and Ben White chances. 

“Lewis Collins did very well last season and he’s someone I know a bit about, so it’s nice to see the manager is willing to give young players a chance to show what they can do.

"When he has given them their chance, they’ve stepped up and shown what they can do.”

Cooper is following in the footsteps of his father Kevin - the former Wolves midfielder - who spent a solitary season in south Wales.

Kevin helped County secure a mid-table finish in the Conference South in the 2008/09 campaign, but Cooper is hopeful he can steer the Exiles towards promotion to the third tier. 

“He’s buzzing and he really enjoyed the time he spent here,” added Cooper. 

“Even though it was towards the end of his career. He still loved every minute of being part of the club and hopefully I can follow in his footsteps, and maybe do one better than he did.

"Everyone at the club wants to get to League One, so that’s the goal for all of us.” 

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