Russell Martin | I hope Ollie Cooper savours the moment
Russell Martin has urged Ollie Cooper to keep working hard and improving after the Swansea City midfielder enjoyed a south Wales derby debut to savour against Cardiff City.
The midfielder, 22, opened the scoring for the Swans against their old rivals with a superb finish, unerringly steering the ball into the top corner as it rolled his way after a run by Luke Cundle.
That was the highlight of another energetic all-action from the academy product, who had trials as a youngster at Cardiff – where his father Kevin played – but was not signed up due to reservations about his height and defensive abilities.
Swansea had no such reservations, and he has flourished following an excellent loan spell at Newport last term.
And Martin revealed how he told Cooper to savour the moment as he left the field to a standing ovation towards the end of the contest.
“Ollie’s father was here today, so I’m sure that was nice for him. I had to tell him he could smile as he came off the pitch,” said Martin.
“To have the club you have grown up with, that you have played for through so many age groups and who you have been desperate to play for, and to have the supporters singing your name after scoring in a derby. There can’t be many better moments, can there? So he needs to enjoy it.
“He should enjoy the feeling and I hope he has it again at some point.
“I am just really proud of Ollie, he has really developed a pitch personality and he is such a good lad.
“I do not have a bad word to say about him and I just hope he keeps on progressing. He is starting to be a really good goal threat for us, which is good.
“He is a great at taking detail onboard, he is so good at understanding and he so coachable, and to have the courage to go and put it on the pitch is not easy.
“He has done amazingly well, We had his manager from last season at Newport, James Rowberry, in earlier this week just for a chat about Ollie and what his thoughts were.
“Anyone who has played a part in Ollie’s development can take a lot of credit, but none more so than Ollie himself.”