Doncaster Rovers boss pays tribute to ‘role model’ James Coppinger
His contribution to Doncaster Rovers has been immense but James Coppinger’s career as a whole is more than worthy of the recognition it has received.
That is the verdict of Rovers boss Andy Butler who paid tribute to his long time team mate as he received the Sir Tom Finney Award from the EFL on Thursday night.
The award honours an exceptional contribution to football, with the 40-year-old receiving the acknowledgement as he prepares to retire at the end of next week.
“You only have to look at the amount of games that he’s played,” Butler said. “You take away the one club side of it which is unbelievable on its own, he’s had a fantastic career from Newcastle as a youngster, Exeter, the loan at Nottingham Forest - he’s had a phenomenal career.
“And at the tender age of 40 he’s still running around the pitch and embarrassing younger players with his nutmegs and chops.
“His contribution has not gone away from when he was younger until now. He still has an incredible impact in games.
“I think he’s well renowned through the EFL for how much of a good person he is. No one has got a bad word to say about him.”
Coppinger as a player is synonymous with Rovers as a club and Butler says his contribution off the pitch has been as invaluable as his performances on it in close to 700 appearances over 17 years.
“Ever since I’ve been at the club Copps has been a role model for the younger players - but the more experienced players as well,” Butler said.
“He’s always there for players to talk to and he leads by example on the pitch when he plays.
“It’s disappointing to not have any fans in the stadium this season but I’d like to think that Copps can take a bit of comfort from the fact when we played in his kit he scored a 96th minute equaliser with a free kick. He’s had another great moment.
“Throughout his career Copps has been a role model for everyone and a real legend at the club.
“It’s sometimes passed around easily, the legend term, but he is a legend.
“Hopefully the club can do something to represent what he means to the club and the fans.”