Versatility is the key for Cooper as Blues pair blossom in midfield

Pompey's Mr Versatility, Shaun Cooper
Pompey's Mr Versatility, Shaun Cooper

Shaun Cooper promised he’s happy to be Pompey’s Mr Versatile.

Cooper admitted he’s being kept from playing his preferred central midfield position by the fast-improving partnership between Johnny Ertl and Therry Racon.

But the Crawley loanee insisted he’s happy to slot into caretaker boss Guy Whittingham’s side, wherever he can help.

Cooper has started the past four games for his side at left-back, after overcoming a hip injury.

He is more than happy to carry on in that role and let the Ertl-Racon axis continue to blossom.

Cooper said: ‘I don’t mind playing all over.

‘I’m 29 now, I’ve been moved about my whole career and I’m sure if you asked 10 different people what my best position is, they’d give you 10 different answers.

‘I prefer central midfield.

‘I’ve played the majority of my games at centre-half but I prefer playing central midfield or sweeper. That never happens these days.

‘They’ve been excellent (Ertl and Racon).

‘Johnny is loved by the fans because of his work-rate. He’s phenomenal.

‘You look at his situation as a defender and you watch him go in for a ball and you’re certain he’ll come out with it.

‘It gives everyone good confidence, while Racs has been getting better and better. He’s similar, very combative and composed on the ball as well.

‘He’s also good with the ball in tight areas.

‘You know, he’s a really good all-round midfielder and the pair of them are a really solid partnership.’

Pompey go into tomorrow’s clash at Brentford on the back of a single defeat in nine games -– and with one goal conceded in the last four.

Cooper believes it’s clear the team now have momentum. He said: ‘I think the results have made it clear for everyone to see. We weren’t in sync anywhere or playing very well (at the start).

‘I think the lads who were here before us maybe got unsettled by the off-the-pitch problems as well.

‘But I think the biggest thing was the lads who came in were lads who hadn’t been playing regularly this season.

‘It takes a few games to get back into you’re stride but once that happens we’ve started to get the results.’