New signing Joel Cooper can’t wait to get started after agreeing to join the U’s from Linfield yesterday.
The 24-year-old forward will complete the formalities on a three year deal once the transfer window reopens next week and then be straight in to pre-season training as soon as the U’s report back.
“Oxford’s a great club with ambitions to progress and the Northern Irish lads who have come here recently have done really well” he told iFollow. “The city itself is a brilliant place to live as well so I’m really excited to get going now.”
Oxford have a great tradition of Northern Irish players from David Sloan and Billy Hamilton through Jim Magilton and more recently Gavin Whyte and Mark Sykes, a former team mate of Joel’s back home:
“I know Sykesy better” he said “I played in the same side as him at Glenavon for a couple of years and he is a good lad. And obviously we both played against Gav and he has done really well for himself. Seeing what they have done makes it feel more comfortable to come over here. And also knowing Sykesy and seeing that he has been looked after really well is great. Hopefully I’ll be looked after in the same way.”
Joal has seen the U’s in action and knows what to expect when League 1 starts again
“I watched the play-offs and a few games now and the standard is very good. It’s very athletic but the physical part of the game is there as well and that’s fine; our league back home can be quite physical as well. So the rough and tumble won’t bother me: it’s a good league and I look forward to playing games and testing myself
“Linfield have been brilliant through all of this. It was quite a big move to join them from Glenavon but it proved to be one of the best things I’ve done and they were great with me. Throughout the process of moving to Oxford they have been very good with the communication and I want to thank them for everything they have done and wish them well for the future too.”
The move to the U’s is one that clearly excites Joel after his success back home.
“You want to prove yourself. Every couple of years I have been lucky enough to step up and have to test myself at a new level and that has happened again. That’s important because I want to keep pushing myself and be the best that I can be. This is a fantastic opportunity for me and when I knew of Oxford’s interest it felt like the right move at the right time.
“In the next week I’ll be looking to sort accommodation because I’ve a young family and the most important thing is to get them settled and then we start training in the couple of weeks after that and I can’t wait for that. There is going to be a difference, obviously, in going professional but I have been working hard all summer, working every day and trying to build up that core fitness so that’s a positive. It may take a little time but I’m ready to come in, work as hard as I possibly can, and try to play a part in another exciting season.”
See the full interview in iFollow