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Millwall boss reacts to defender’s transfer link to Aston Villa and Southampton

BY RICHARD CAWLEY
richard@slpmedia.co.uk

Gary Rowett has said he doesn’t give “a second thought” to speculation that Premier League clubs are looking at Jake Cooper.

Both Aston Villa and Southampton have been linked with the 25-year-old Millwall centre-back.

“A lot of players are going to be linked to other clubs because they are performing really, really well and you’re sat in the top 10 of a very competitive league in the Championship,” said Rowett.

“But at the same time there is certainly no panic for the club that he’s going elsewhere. He is a player we want to be here for a long time and develop with us – hopefully he can see the progression.

“I don’t read too much into the situation. If you think about January there were so many stories about Jed [Wallace] but he is still our player and performing well.

“You take it as part and parcel of the game, so I don’t read an awful lot into it until someone at the club  says: ‘We’ve had a £10million bid for Jake Cooper’. Until then I don’t give it a second thought.

“It’s more how can we keep Coops improving and getting better – because his performances have improved since the season has gone on.”

Cooper has played 113 consecutive Championship games for Millwall – and every minute in all those fixtures.

The former Reading defender had been the subject of interest from Rangers after the club’s first campaign back in England’s second tier. The Lions fought off the attempts to unsettle the ex-England U20 international.

Asked about Cooper’s unbroken record, defensive partner Shaun Hutchinson said: “We call him the machine in the dressing room.

“When you consider how many games, minutes and things that can go wrong like illnesses, injuries and dips in form – everything that batters you game to game – it really is incredible.

“I don’t think I’ve ever known a player who has whacked up that many games consecutively.

“It’s really impressive. He’s one of those guys you can call upon and is never really going to let you down.”

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