Doncaster Rovers: James Coppinger on why proving himself to Darren Moore has been no chore

He may still be thriving at the grand old age of 38 but there is never a time when James Coppinger feels he does not have to prove himself.

Thursday, 10th October 2019, 7:22 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th October 2019, 10:28 pm
James Coppinger
James Coppinger

As the veteran forward has suggested before, that is particularly so when a new manager walks in the door at Doncaster Rovers.

With three managers in the last three years at the Keepmoat, Coppinger has not had any opportunity to rest on his laurels.

But after being put under greater scrutiny in more recent years, he says he has had little trouble convincing Darren Moore of his evergreen abilities and standard-setting fitness levels since the manager's arrival in the summer

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And he appreciates the respect and faith shown by Moore so far.

"I definitely did," he said of feeling a need to prove himself again.

"But at the same time the manager reassured me of what he thought of me and knew of me.

"I know he's got staff still here that he can speak to but at the same time you do have to show it day in, day out.

"Grant McCann came in and I don't think he envisaged or thought I would be as fit and strong as I was. I don't think he thought I'd be able to train how I did.

"I know that because I had that conversation with him.

"I imagine the gaffer, though I don't think he'd have thought the same, I think he'd have been surprised at what I can do at nearly 39.

"But again, you always feel like you have to justify to the new guy what you do and how you do it because if you don't you'll go the other way I think."

A major point on which Coppinger has proven himself to Moore is his ability to play full matches despite his advancing years.

He has completed four of Rovers' ten matches in League One this season and played at least 70 minutes in the other six.

In contrast, in the entirety of last season under Grant McCann he completed seven.

When play halted for a Rovers substitution after the hour mark last term, the likelihood was that it would be Coppinger exiting the pitch.

He is confident he could have completed far more games last season, but would not argue with McCann's decisions.

"I'd never felt I couldn't play 90 minutes at that point," he said.

"Maybe last season because I did it for so many games then my body would get to 70 minutes and sort of, not get tired.

"I don't feel at 38 that I can't play 90 minutes.

"That was the manager's choice. I'm not going to argue with it, if that's the way he wants to do it and there are other people that can come on.

"But I never felt that at 70 minutes I was done.

"It was almost like that was the way it was, I'm getting 70 minutes so deal with it. It's a team game, just get on with it.

"I never had a conversation with [McCann].

"It'll be the same with this manager. If he feels like he wants me to play 60 or 70 minutes I'll do what I can."