Steve Cooper, Nottingham Forest
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Steve Cooper: The man who brought the good times back to City Ground

| 05.06.2022

Profile of Steve Cooper: The manager behind Forest’s promotion

Steve Cooper has become the manager to finally lead Nottingham Forest back to the Premier League thanks to a 1-0 win against Huddersfield in the Championship play-off final.

Here, we take a look at the City Ground boss and his career so far.

What is his background?

Cooper never had a top playing career, turning out for The New Saints, Rhyl, Bangor City and Porthmadog in Wales having failed to play for his first club Wrexham.

He went into coaching and earned his UEFA Pro Licence at just 27. Cooper spent time as Liverpool’s academy manager, overseeing Raheem Sterling and Trent Alexander-Arnold’s development.

He moved to the FA and took charge of England Under-16s and Under-17s.

What did he achieve with England?

It was with England Under-17s where Cooper had his greatest success. In October 2017 he won the Under-17 World Cup when his young side beat Spain 5-2 in the final.

The team included Phil Foden, Marc Guehi and Callum Hudson-Odoi, while Jadon Sancho, Emile Smith Rowe and Conor Gallagher were on the bench.

Earlier that year the Under-17s had lost the European Championship final to Spain.

How has he fared in club football?

Forest is just Cooper’s second league club job having previously spent two years at Swansea.

It is his third play-off campaign, though, having taken the Swans to the play-offs in both seasons in charge. In 2020 Swansea beat Forest to the top six on goal difference only to lose to Brentford in the semi-final.

A year later they made it to the final – but again lost to Brentford with Cooper departing a few weeks later.

How has he transformed Forest?

Forest were bottom of the Sky Bet Championship when Cooper took over in September 2021.

He has won 27 of his 45 games and managed to utilise an underperforming squad, which has seen them rout Leicester in the FA Cup while also beating Arsenal.

Cooper has harnessed the talents of Brennan Johnson, Djed Spence and James Garner to develop one of the most exciting squads in the league.

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Warren Barner