Speaking with The Score NI, Cardiff City winger Gavin Whyte has tipped fellow Northern Irishman Joel Cooper to be a success in the Football League, amid links with a move to League One pair Oxford United and Shrewsbury Town.
Winger Gavin Whyte made the move from Northern Ireland side Crusaders to Oxford United in the summer of 2018. An impressive season with Oxford in League One yielded nine goals and seven assists in 47 appearances, earning him a move to Championship side Cardiff City the following summer.
Now, another star from the Northern Irish Premiership has been linked with a move to England. Linfield winger Joel Cooper has been reported to be on the radar of League One pair Oxford United and Shrewsbury Town, as a report from BBC Sport.
Cooper has enjoyed a thoroughly successful season with Linfield, scoring 11 goals and providing 13 assists in 33 appearances across all competitions. Cooper played in five of Linfield’s six games in the Europa League qualifying stages.
Amid the links with a move to League One, Whyte – who played against Cooper during his time in Northern Ireland – has said that he believes Cooper is capable of making the step from the Irish League to the Football League, saying he thinks the winger deserves the move. He said:
“Definitely, I think loads of young players in the Irish League do. It’s a harder step, but Joel is a great player and there are a lot of great young players who if they get the chance and work hard they could do it as well. I think if that happens for Joel it would be a great move, as it was for me and Sykesy, who is flying at the minute.
“I know Joel from years and years ago, playing against him when I first signed Crusaders at under 15s or 16s. He was a great player.
“When he moved to Glenavon a couple of years ago he ripped it up and this season he’s been head and shoulders above everyone else. He does really deserve it and hopefully the move comes along for him.”
With Oxford United and Shrewsbury Town said keen, it will be interesting to see if Cooper gets his move to the Football League this summer. Taking Whyte’s words and Cooper’s form into account, do you think the Linfield winger is capable of making the step to League One football?