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Cooper cites strong relationships behind Lions' success

2017/18 Young Player of the Year speaks...

2 May 2018

2017/18 Young Player of the Year Jake Cooper has praised his fellow team-mates, management staff and Millwall supporters after the club experienced one of its greatest seasons in recent memory.

The towering defender was chosen by boss Neil Harris as the club's top young prospect at last Sunday's End of Season Awards Night and the 23-year-old hailed "a great season" prior to picking up his award.

Cooper has made 41 appearances this season, scoring four goals.

"I'm absolutely delighted to get recognition from the manager and his staff. It's been a great season and it's nice to get that accolade at the end of it," he told

The former Reading man is on course to complete his first full season at The Den following a permanent transfer from the Madejski Stadium last summer after an initial loan spell - one he jumped at the chance at.

"I was here at the end of last season and the club achieved big things, so the chance to join Millwall in the summer was one I wanted to take up. Ever since I've joined I've taken every day as it comes as really enjoyed my time at the club."

Millwall can still finish in the Play-Off places, but need a freak set of results to do so, including a nine-goal swing on sixth-placed Derby County, who host relegation-threatened Barnsley.

Cooper joked about the possibility of that happening, but also stated that the club should be "proud" of what they have achieved in their first season back in the Sky Bet Championship.

"I think we can do Aston Villa 9-0! It's been a great season for the club. To go on that run after Christmas and New Year was brilliant, especially given at the start of the season people were writing us off.

"We had tricky moments but we've come through. We were gutted to miss out after losing at Middlesbrough on Saturday, but I think we can be really proud of what we've achieved."

The Lions' form has been built on the base of Mahlon Romeo, Player of the Year Shaun Hutchinson, Cooper and James Meredith.

Along with the "solidity" of Millwall's back four, the defender hopes to take the unity between players, management and fans alike into 2018/19 as the club look to build on this remarkable campaign. 

"[The defence has] formed a great relationship. We worked on a few things earlier in the season and we've cemented that as time has gone on. We've grown stronger by the game. It's been a great thing to be a part of and hopefully we can keep that solidity and go into next season even stronger.

"It's a fantastic club to be at. The boys are so good and we have such a great relationship with each other. There's some real deep down friendships in this group and that's also on the management side, too. The fans have been a part of our success as well. It's been a great club to be part of this year."

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