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Dario Backing Cooper To Come Back Stronger

17 May 2016

Club's Academy boss says it will still click for George.

The Club’s Technical Director, Dario Gradi, believes that young George Cooper still has the potential to become a real match winner for Crewe Alexandra. Cooper, 19, broke onto the first team scene back in October 2014 when he scored a stunning free-kick in a 2-1 win over Coventry City at the Alexandra Stadium and although he repeated something very similar away at Southend United last season, he was tussled with his form.

Cooper was considered the ideal replacement for the Wigan-bound Ryan Colclough and he showed his real potential with an outstanding individual performance away at Millwall in late January but he has been used more sparingly as a substitute as young Callum Ainley and Charlie Kirk were handed their chance to shine. Cooper has made just 15 starts this season, scoring that one goal at Roots Hall.

Dario says that Cooper may just need some time to find his form at first-team level.

“Ainley and Kirk have come into the first team and done well and in the future they will probably go for the highest money, but then there is George Cooper as well, ‘says Dario.

“George has been inconsistent with his form but that can happen with young players. He will have to be handled right and I think he has been taken out at the right time and then put back in.

“We will continue to work with him because we know he has great potential. It is always difficult to know when a player will click at first team level. You sometimes think they are ready and they struggle. Other times they start really well, like George did, and they have a dip in form.

“I was the same with Nick (Powell). I always thought he would be a terrific player because of what he did when he was coming through but I then put him in the team and he flattered to deceive for a while.

“I had a slight concern that he wasn’t going to develop into what I thought he was but then he scored a terrific goal away at Wimbledon and he never looked back. It just clicked for him and you have to be patient with them.

Dario added: “Nick went on to become the most influential player when Steve (Davis) went on that great run to get us through the play-offs. That could be Ainley, Kirk or Cooper again.”

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