He may not be the biggest name in world football but Welshman Steve Cooper is set to land the Swansea managerial job, a role which will be his first senior job as a manager. But who is he and where has he come from to land this prestigious job?
Having had a short playing career in Wales, Cooper took up a role as Wrexham’s head of youth development in 2005. In 2008, having caught the eye as a young promising manager, he moved to Liverpool to take over as their academy manager at the age of 28.
It would be at Melwood that he would meet a man who influenced his career more than any other. Former Barcelona B coach Jose Segura was at the club at that time and imparted a lot of those philosophies onto the young impressionable coach.
He took this possession based football and stuck with it, always wanting his players to have the ball and be composed under pressure. They must attack with aggression and as we saw with England in his later years, be disciplined.
Some star names in the Premier League have Cooper to thank for the position they are in today. He played a big part in the development of Liverpool youngsters Trent Alexander-Arnold, Raheem Sterling and Ben Woodburn during his time at the club, two of which have gone on to be genuine world stars.
All of those aforementioned names play with the principles that Cooper instilled into them, being brave and comfortable in possession and aggressive when they do not have the ball. His work did not go unnoticed and he was offered a role in the England set-up in 2013 - getting the U16 manager’s job in 2014.
Again he implemented his now-developed philosophy and took charge of the U17s a season later. There he coached more talented players such as Jadon Sancho, Phil Foden and Callum Hudson-Odoi leading them to the u17 European Championship final in 2017 where they reached the final.
Unfortunately they lost in the final on penalties to a talented Spain side but there was hope and promise heading into the World Cup later in the year. In India, Cooper and England’s youngsters would achieve their crowning glory.
Manchester City’s Phil Foden impressed, winning the Golden Ball award as England romped to the final where they would once again meet Spain. At 2-0 down, it looked like another final defeat was coming for England but a goal from Liverpool youngster and Golden Boot winner Rhian Brewster brought them back into the game before half-time.
An inspiring half-time team talk followed from Cooper and the Young Lions scored four goals unanswered in a pulsating second half to win the trophy. It was a brilliant success for Cooper and his players but he will now want to try his luck in the Championship and follow on from the foundations that Graham Potter put in place last season.
A proud Welshman born just 45 miles from Swansea in Pontypridd, this job could be the perfect place for Cooper to develop as a senior manager while the Welsh club could have picked up another brilliant young manager. The perfect fit.