KEANU Cooper wants to become a lean and mean goal-scoring machine for AFC Ludlow next season, writes LEWIS DEAKIN.
Cooper revealed he intends to work hard over the summer to improve his physique.
He scored twice for Ludlow in last Saturday’s 13-1 thrashing of Malvern Rangers at the Showtime Stadium.
Cooper said: “I want to get stronger and, hopefully, I will be scoring more goals next season.
“I think that means there will be a lot of sessions down the gym for me.
“I hope we win promotion and I want to become a full first-team regular in my dad’s team next year. I also want to grow a bit next season.
Keanu was on trial with Aston Villa by the age of 10 and played for Villa’s academy against Walsall.
“After playing at academy level - I was put off football for two years and I had just lost all of my confidence to play football.
“Playing under my father has restored my confidence; because dad knows how I play. He knows my strengths and weaknesses, because he has watched me play a lot.
“But dad doesn’t treat me any differently to anyone else. If I do something right or wrong; he will tell me the same as dad would anyone else in the team.”
He scored two-goals for the club’s reserves against Clee Hill.
Cooper junior insists there are plenty of opportunities; for him to break into his dad’s starting 11 next year.
The youngster revealed he looks up to goal-machine Nathan Hodge, who arrived from Haughmond.
He said: “I scored two-goals against Clee Hill. The second strike was three or four minutes from time. Clee hit us on the break - we got the ball back; and centre-midfield played it across to me: I then hit the ball across the goalkeeper.
“My dad rotates the side most weeks; so there are plenty of opportunities for youngsters.”
He added: “The arrival of Nathan Hodge is a big boost to our younger players - people such as myself, Liam Taylor and Kieran Dovey. Nathan is someone; who has played at a high standard. He is someone - we can all learn from. Nathan is an out-and-out goal-scorer.”
AFC Ludlow will win promotion next season, insists Keanu.
The youngster believes a lack of confidence was behind the club’s struggles at home in 2013.
He said: “We could have started the season better away from home. But that is how it goes in football; you are either in form or out of form. We didn’t perform at home - I think it was just down to a lack of confidence.
“We are now playing a different style of football. We are now playing a possession game. Beating top of the league Dudley; gave us a big confidence boost.
“I don’t think we will win promotion this year. But I’m confident we will win the championship next season. We might have won it this year; if we had made a better start to the campaign - we have left ourselves with too much work to do.”
Captain Jack Beaumont is an encouraging influence out on the field, insists Cooper.
He said: “Jack our captain he is always talking to me during a game. Jack always talks to me privately and tells me; if I am doing something right or wrong. Talking to someone privately is better than in front of everyone else; negativity can knock a players’ confidence.”