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Cooper backs Tijane to shine
CARETAKER boss Mark Cooper knows winger Tijane Reis will become a ‘big asset’ for Swindon Town just as soon as he settles into his new surroundings.
Town beat off competition from the likes of Benfica, West Ham, Tottenham and Stoke to sign the Portugal Under 21 international in the summer, and the Guinea-Bissau born youngster has shown glimpes of his quality during his three appearances at the start of this season.
The 22-year-old is comfortable in possession and looks to beat his man on a regular basis, and although he sometimes struggles positionally Cooper believes Tijane will make a real impact in the future as he continues to learn both the English game and language.
“He has come from a different country, doesn’t speak English and is living in a hotel, and it will take him time to adapt like it would any player coming into a different culture and a different way of playing,” Cooper said.
“In patches he’s done well, and what he does is he occupies defenders and they dare not leave him alone because they know he has that pace and trickery to create things.
“We have plenty of work to do with him, the first being getting him to understand what we are saying and maybe I need to take some lessons in Portuguese, but he will come back and will be a big asset for the club one day I’m sure.
“He’s still not fully fit, and he had an operation in December which he is still feeling the effects of, and the only way he’s going to get fit is by training and playing.”
The winger was due to start his English classes at the beginning of this week, and although fellow new signing Raphael Rossi Branco has been helping out as translator Cooper isn’t entirely convinced his message is getting through.
“Raphael Branco speaks Portuguese, or at least I think he does, but whatever I ask him I’m sure he tells him something different,” Cooper joked.
“If I ask him to stay wide Tijane tucks in, and I think it’s Portuguese classes for me now.
“We need to teach him the game and exactly how we want him to play, and he will only get better the more English he speaks.
“At the moment we are having to drag him into positions and show him exactly what we want.
“He’s a lovely boy and he wants to learn, and he’s come from a different world and really wants to achieve.
“It’s been difficult for him and he’s a long way from home, but we need to give him as much help as we possibly can to help him settle in.”
Meanwhile, the Advertiser understands defender Darren Ward is set to sign his new contract tomorrow when the Town squad return from a day off today.
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