Swansea City's Ollie Cooper keen to kick on from positive loan experience
Ollie Cooper hopes to use the positive experience of his loan spell at Newport County to help him stake a claim for first-team opportunities in the months ahead.
The attacking midfielder spent the 2021-22 campaign on loan with the Exiles, and proved to be a stand-out performer at Rodney Parade as the Gwent club battled for a play-off berth in League Two.
The 22-year-old – son of former Derby, Wimbledon and Wolves midfielder Kevin – ended the season with a goal and nine assists to his name; the latter tally being the best among the Newport squad over the course of the campaign.
Injury did disrupt the final part of the season, but Cooper has returned to the Swansea fold buoyed by his exploits and hungry for more.
“The assist side of it I was really happy with, I would have liked to contribute a bit more on the goals side of things, if I am honest,” he said.
“But, for my first real loan experience, it was a good one for me. It was so important for me to get out and play.
“I did that, and to finish the season with the most assists at Newport was good, but I felt I could have done more and got more goals and assists. Had I done that I would have come back happier.
“There is always more you can do, you always want to do more, you have to have that mentality.
“I have to keep improving, keep looking to that next level and I am looking to try and get more opportunities with Swansea.
“I want to keep playing, I have had an experience of it and I want it to continue. Ideally, I want that to be at Swansea but it’s down to me to work hard to try and make that happen and we will see what comes from that.”
Cooper, who has been with the Swans since under-12 level, has been part of the Swansea squad being put through their paces in a week-long training camp at Pennyhill Park this week.
The gruelling, intense double sessions and heat have ensured a tough few days but Cooper – who made his senior Swans debut against Stevenage in the FA Cup in 2021 before scoring his first goal for the club against Nottingham Forest in the next round – has taken a lot from the week.
“It’s been tough, we have certainly worked hard,” he says with a grin.
“But I have enjoyed it, the football side of it has been excellent, it’s just those running sessions in the afternoons that have been tough.
“I’ve been getting through it, which is a good thing! We’ve done some different things as well, like the team bonding sessions we did.
“I’m still not sure how the team I was on lost, because we had the gaffer on our team!
“It was good fun, it was good to do something different, away from football. As players we went for a meal and some ten-pin bowling as well to relax in each other’s company so it’s been a really good week."