Steve CooperEmbed from Getty Images
Coming up against Valérien Ismaël’s Barnsley in the semi-finals, Steve Cooper’s Swansea are currently in the midst of a play-off campaign. However, unlike Barnsley, this represents the Welsh club’s second play-off push in as many years.
Cooper led the Swans to the the playoffs after a rocky start to last season with an ‘only-in-the-EFL’ last-day, six goal swing securing them sixth place. Ultimately, though, Swansea lost out to Brentford in the resulting semi-final.
This season has been much more consistent from Cooper’s side, though, as they have occupied the top-six spaces for the majority of the campaign. They also currently have the upper hand on Barnsley after the first-leg of the playoff semi-final, threatening to go one better than last season. This is despite losing some of their best young talent such as Conor Gallagher, now at Albion, and Rhian Brewster.
Cooper’s impressive managerial performances are not confined to Swansea, having joined the Welsh club after his time as England U-17 manager. In his first tournament, he led England to the final of the European U17 championships, losing to Spain; he went one better, next time, winning the U17 World Cup.
During his time with England, Cooper managed some of the best young players in the world – Jadon Sancho, Phil Foden and Callum Hudson-Odoi.
Cooper’s ability to manage young, English players, both for England and at Swansea, makes him a prime candidate for the role at Albion, as do his two consecutive play-off campaigns. In fact, if Cooper manages to go one better with Swansea as he did with England, then he would be off the cards as Premier League football looms large.