Doncaster Rovers legend James Coppinger tipped for coaching success by Ben Whiteman

Ben Whiteman rates James Coppinger as easily the best player he has played with, and thinks the Doncaster Rovers legend will have a successful coaching career too.

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Middlesbrough-born Coppinger is in his 16th season at the Keepmoat, and has already said he would like another despite turning 40 in June.

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As a fellow midfielder, 23-year-old Rovers captain Whiteman says Coppinger's experience has been a huge help for him, and it is why he thinks he is cut out for coaching too.

INFLUENCE: Ben Whiteman has hailed the impact James Coppinger has had on his career

“Copps has been massive for me in my career – he’s the best player I’ve played with by a country mile,” Whiteman told the D3D4 podcast.

“He’s been massive for me because he’s been there and done it throughout the leagues. You wouldn’t be playing for this amount of time if you’re not a good player and a good person as well.

“We get on really well off the football pitch and we’re both the same in terms of how much we love the game - and how we analyse our own game. On Sundays, we usually text about how the match on Saturday has gone.”

Even in the twilight of his career and with fewer starts (28 in all competitions) than he hoped for this season, the former Newcastle United junior still has an insatiable work ethic.

“The way Copps performs on a football pitch is outstanding day to day,” said Whiteman. “Even in games now, he’s right up there in terms of miles covers.

“The way he looks after his body and trains throughout the week is very good and that’s part of the reason he’s still playing at 39.

“He’s a great lad, trains very well, and off the field he does some outstanding work in his community and for football as well.

“When he finally does hang his boots up aged 56, I’m sure he’ll succeed off the field too.”

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