Colin Cooper insists that he has left Middlesbrough’s youth set-up in great shape after joining Hartlepool United as their new manager.
Cooper who was confirmed as the Pool’s new boss on Friday was previously employed as Middlesbrough’s under-18 coach.However while he is eager to crack on with planning for next term at Victoria Park he admitted he holds those he has just left behind in high esteem.
Several youngsters made the breakthrough at the Riverside Stadium last term including Bryn Morris, Jordan Jones, Ben Gibson and Christian Burgess. Much is also expected of Adam Reach and Luke Williams while the club’s latest set of recruits have been described as ‘very good prospects’.
“There’s a line of good players coming through at Boro. The last two crops of under-16s are the best the club has had for a good while,” Cooper told the Gazette.
“And last season four under-18s jumped to under-21 level, while two made first team debuts. There are very good prospects among the players I leave behind who will play at under-17 and under-18 level next season.”
“There are one or two goalscorers coming through. They are still young, but might shine. Putting the ball in the net is what the game is about, and there is one striker who is 16, who will be with the under-21s next season.”
Naming the youngsters would be unfair at this stage in their development, though Cooper remains optimistic that the production line is in full flow.
And the more home-grown players that blossom on the first-team stage, the happier he will be, even though his job now is to revive relegated Hartlepool’s fortunes.
“Boro will always be in my heart even though it was time to move and start a great new chapter.”