‘He’s worked with Phil Foden and Jadon Sancho’ – Nottingham Forest eye 41-year-old as Hughton replacement: The verdict

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Football League World

This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…

Nottingham Forest are reportedly eyeing Steve Cooper as their main candidate to replace Chris Hughton, who was sacked this morning.

Cooper left Swansea City in the summer and is understood to be the Reds’ primary target, though they’re also looking elsewhere.

But would that be a good decision? And is the 41-year-old right man for the job?

Our FLW writers share their thoughts…

Alfie Burns

Given what Cooper has achieved in the Championship over the last couple of seasons, he wouldn’t be a bad option for Forest to target.

However, looking deeper than his league finishes, it’s the work he’s done with young players that will really stand out to Forest.

Brennan Johnson (and a few others) would be licking their lips at the thought of linking up with Cooper. He’s developed players like Conor Gallagher, Marc Guehi, and Rhian Brewster magnificently over the last couple of seasons at Swansea.

Even beyond that, he’s worked with Phil Foden and Jadon Sancho with England. Players like that need no introduction.

That would be exciting for Forest and give the younger players in their squad the guidance they need.

George Harbey

I can certainly see why Forest would want him, the more I think about it.

Cooper has done fairly well in his brief time in club management, guiding Swansea to back-to-back play-off finishes in his two seasons at the club.

Before that, he made a name for himself in the England coaching setup, guiding the U17s to World Cup success in 2017 and working with some excellent young players like Phil Foden.

Forest have an excellent youth setup of their own, and it would be exciting to see what he could do with Brennan Johnson, Alex Mighten as well as others.

I think he’d be a good appointment.

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Ben Wignall

I think on the strength of the results he achieved for Swansea in his two years at the club then Cooper is an obvious fit for any Championship club – but a potential appointment comes with risks.

Towards the end of his time at the Welsh club, Swansea fans were rather critical of his style of football in that he favoured being solid defensively over utilising any potential attacking flair.

They could be exciting at times, especially in his first season with the club, but it was widely agreed that his time at the Liberty Stadium had run its course.

One of Cooper’s plus points though is that he has great contacts in the game and due to his time working as a youth coach with England, he’s able to secure good loan deals and that could help Forest out in the short-term in January.

But for a few reasons I don’t think Cooper is particularly the right man for the job – his style seems similar to Hughton’s but he would be better than a complete punt from abroad you’d imagine, although that seemed to work for Watford last season when the little-known Xisco Munoz took the Hornets back to the Premier League.

Forest need someone who can get them out of a rut and who will shoot a rocket up the player’s backsides in order to get results – would Cooper ruffle feathers? I can’t see it.

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