Doncaster Rovers: ‘I’m open to coaching role’, reveals James Coppinger

Paul Dickov has backed James Coppinger to go into coaching once his playing career is over.
Paul Dickov has backed James Coppinger to go into coaching once his playing career is over.

Long-serving midfielder James Coppinger has not ruled out the prospect of coaching once his playing career comes to an end.

The Rovers stalwart will be celebrating his 34th birthday this January and seems to be turning back the years in terms of his impressive performances on the field for Doncaster.

His manager Paul Dickov has also tipped his skipper to take on a coaching role at some stage in his career.

However, Coppinger admits that he feels a move away from his midfield slot may be a while off just yet.

“At 33, 34 in January, it’s something that - after being in football for so long - that you half think about,” former Darlington trainee Coppinger told the Free Press.

“Outside of football, your career comes to an end at some point and you’ve got to think.

“But I’m feeling as good as I’ve ever felt physically and mentally so I don’t really want to think that far ahead if I’m being brutally honest.

“I’m an all-or-nothing type of person so at the minute I’m putting everything into Doncaster.

“As soon as that day comes, when I feel like I can’t play anymore, I’ll put everything into something else. That’s probably undecided really.”

Coppinger certainly boasts strong leadership qualities which have led to Dickov handing him the captain’s armband in the absence of the injured Rob Jones.

The Doncaster chief has not been afraid to offer a glowing appraisal of his loyal servant who reached his 400-game milestone in all competitions for Rovers.

Back in April, the Scotsman said: “James is a model professional, not just on the pitch but how he handles himself around the place.

“He’s a massive example for the younger players we’ve got.

“We like to get the youth lads involved in first team training here and you can do all the coaching with them in the world.

“But the best lessons those young lads can learn are from professionals like James. We’re lucky to have him here.

“Every single day he’s up there with the best trainers. He’s as fit as he’s ever been, and that’s down to what he does away from here as well as his work in training.”

This season in particular, the winger has taken it upon himself to offer any guidance to young players within the Rovers ranks in a bid to help them develop into first team regulars.

“I relish the opportunity to use my experience and what I’ve learnt throughout the years with the young lads coming through,” said Coppinger.

“It’s not easy but at the same time it’s good for me.

“There’s four or five of us who have played at this level and the level above who are currently in the first team.

“And it’s also good for the young lads coming in because they’ve got to learn quickly in terms of how to adapt to this league.

“At the end of the day, you’re here to try and impress the management and other people to warrant another contract.

“So, if they’re receptive to listening and working hard they will do well.”