Doncaster Rovers: Veteran duo show there is always scope for improvement

James Coppinger
James Coppinger
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The business of developing players never ends for Darren Ferguson.

The Doncaster Rovers boss points to the examples of veterans James Coppinger and Andy Butler as proof of that.

Ferguson will be looking to develop young acquisitions Niall Mason, Alex Kiwomya and Ben Whiteman this season.

But the club’s more experienced players will also be expected to improve during the coming campaign.

Both 36-year-old Coppinger and Butler, 33, enjoyed their best seasons for some time as Rovers won promotion from League Two.

Their key roles earned contract extensions midway through the season.

And Ferguson says their respective performances show there is always scope for improvement.

“I look at Andy Butler and James Coppinger and I’ve seen improvement in them,” Ferguson told The Star.

“A lot of people thought Andy was a head it and kick it defender who couldn’t keep a high line but he’s proved this season when we’ve played with a high line.

“He comes out of the back with the ball and he’s a lot more comfortable on it.

“It’s just through practice really.

“Copps is now in a position where it really suits him to play centrally.”

Ferguson’s recruitment is heavily focused on adding the right sort of characters to his squad.

And he says a desire for improvement is key to that.

“Regardless of age, it’s my job and the coaches to do enough work with them to help them improve,” Ferguson said.

“It’s a massive part of your job, I’ve always felt that and the players appreciate it.

“But then they go and have the mentality they want to do it themselves.”