Doncaster Rovers: ‘How has he not played more at the highest level?!’ – Darren Moore on influential James Coppinger
He continues to confound expectations with high quality performances and now his manager says he cannot believe James Coppinger has not played more at the highest level.
The veteran forward scored one and made one as Rovers triumphed 2-0 in their FA Cup replay with AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday night, with his individual performance proving a real catalyst for the side as a whole.
Moore worked in the Premier League with West Bromwich Albion and says Coppinger is among the best he has worked with during his time as a coach.
And he admits being dumbfounded that the 38-year-old has not had opportunities at the top level for much of his career.
"He's right up there with the very best," Moore said.
"I know he's stepped up and played at a higher level for short spells but how he's not played at levels above here is beyond me really.
"I'm working closely with him. He's a tremendous player and a fantastic individual."
Coppinger continues to be a vital component of the Rovers side in his 16th season at the club.
And Moore says it is his personal goal to ensure this is one of the best campaigns Coppinger has had at the Keepmoat.
"My desire is, as good as he is, I want to make him even better," he said.
"I want to get him into areas of the pitch where he can really show the quality that he's got.
"He's been instrumental already. I enjoy working with him, as I do the whole squad.
"What we're trying to do here is something that he's bought right into and he's such an influential individual to work with.
"We'll keep that going as long as we can."
Opposition managers are quick to praise Coppinger after games according to Moore.
And that was no different on Tuesday night with Wimbledon boss Glyn Hodges quick to deliver compliments for the match-winning performance.
Moore is pleased to have such a reliable operator as part of his squad.
"He's scored his fourth goal this season and I can't tell you how many goals he's been a part of," the Rovers boss said.
"He's playing a huge part for us. He's fit, he's strong and wants to lead from the front.
"He's got loads of respect and admiration from inside and outside the club. The amount of opposition managers saying he defies logic at the age he is at andwith the contribution he still provides. It's testament to him.
"You've got to have the appetite for the game and he does have that. He's got an appetite and a love for the football club.
"He's a wonderful individual to work with and long may it continue.
"As he seems to play he gets gets stronger with it. We'll keep that work going."