Swansea boss tips Ollie Cooper for Wales spot after comeback victory over Reading
Swansea boss Russell Martin insists Ollie Cooper is good enough to be named in Wales’ World Cup squad for Qatar – but does not expect the talented midfielder to make Robert Page’s party.
Cooper underlined his growing credentials again by scoring in Swansea’s 3-2 Sky Bet Championship comeback win over Reading.
It was the 22-year-old’s second goal in as many home games, and homegrown talent Cooper has become a firm favourite with Swansea fans after returning from a productive loan spell at Newport last season.
Martin said: “He’ll play for Wales at some point. I’ve got no doubt.
“I’m not the Wales manager, so I don’t know when that will be. But he has the ability and capacity now to be in that squad in my opinion.
“Rob (Page, Wales manager) has spoken about rewarding the people who have been on the journey with him.
“They’ve been on an incredible journey. I totally respect and understand that, and I’m sure Ollie would.”
Reading produced effective counter-attacks to lead 2-0 through Yakou Meite and Tom Ince after 33 minutes.
But Harry Darling’s header cut the deficit before the interval, and second-half goals from Cooper and Jay Fulton – who lashed home from 30 yards – lifted Swansea to seventh in the Championship standings with Reading dropping to ninth.
Martin said: “I thought it was harsh on the players that we were 2-0 down. We started really well, but the goals we conceded were really poor – Reading pounced on our mistakes really well.
“The players were really annoyed at half-time, but the way they reacted was fantastic.
“To be 2-0 down after the disappointment we had at Burnley (Swansea lost 4-0 at Turf Moor on Saturday) and come back, it takes some guts and courage.
“We’re really proud of them. That is one of the biggest wins we have had, especially when you consider how young our team was. It just shows they are really starting to believe in themselves.”
Reading have now lost three games in a row after making an excellent start to the season.
Boss Paul Ince said: “We came out with a game plan and it was working well.
“We wanted to frustrate Swansea and their fans and we knew that if we could get a couple of passes together we’d be in.
“It worked a treat and we scored twice. Then to concede a goal at the end of the first half gave them a lift.
“If you come to a place like Swansea and score two goals you expect to take something out of the game. We put ourselves in a great position to get something.”
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Fantastic win and well deserved. Reading were defensive and their tactics fooling the ref was must have frustrated their own fans! Well done Martin, turning this Rag-tag Swansea side and making them into a top of the table team. Still not sure we will go up this season. With the likes of Norwich, Luton and possibly Burnley in the play offs, we don’t have enough to make the difference.