Plymouth Argyle’s highly-rated young goalkeeper Mike Cooper is destined for the top, manager Ryan Lowe has predicted.
Cooper made several excellent saves as the Pilgrims began their 2020/21 League One campaign with a 1-0 defeat of Blackpool at Home Park.
The 20-year-old had previously started six cup ties for Argyle, including the 3-2 Carabao Cup first round win against Queens Park Rangers seven days earlier.
But the victory over was the full league debut for the former Plymouth College pupil, who has a long-term contract with the Pilgrims until the summer of 2022.
Whether Cooper stays for that long remains to be seen, given the potential that he has to play at a much higher level.
Lowe told Plymouth Live: “Mike Cooper isn’t going to be with this football club for a long time, and while he’s here we will relish him, because he’s going to the top.
“He’s going to make the club a lot of money, and I will say that now because I know he will because he is top, top.
“We will never stand in his way, He’s not going anywhere pretty soon, believe that from me, but the kid is going to go to the top levels because you have seen what he has done.
“That’s good for us because we have produced him. He has been here for a while – Jephs (Luke Jephcott) is the same. He’s going to get talked about now because he’s scoring goals in League One.
“When you have got one at either end, who are producing and have come from the academy, great, that’s what we want.
“We want people talking about us for the right reasons and I think they will be.”
Cooper, who will be 21 next month, earned praise from QPR boss Mark Warburton for his performance in the Carabao Cup tie, and it was the same from Blackpool head coach Neil Cricthley.
He said: “The goalkeeper has obviously played very well, he was excellent. I thought the way Plymouth defended and their organisation was excellent as well.”
The performance of Cooper against Blackpool demonstrated why Lowe was ready to give him the chance to be Argyle’s first choice ‘keeper this season, rather than bring in a more experienced shot-stopper.
Lowe added: “He has got a long way to go, we are not getting carried away with him.
“He’s a top drawer kid, he’s a top drawer player. He has got to keep learning and he will play at the top level. For us, we have got keep coaching him.
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“His kicking range today, which no-one will even mention, was top drawer.
“Ultimately, he’s there to keep the ball out of the net, whether it’s with his feet, his hands, his head, his body – whatever it is. He was fantastic, along with the rest of the lads.”