Millwall boss Rowett on contract discussions with defender he is tipping to play in Premier League

Millwall boss Gary Rowett is thrilled to be signing up defender Jake Cooper to a long-term deal at The Den – with the manager stating he expects the centre-back to eventually play in the Premier League.

The 24-year-old is in the final stages of talks on committing his future to the Den outfit, after featuring 40 times for the Lions this season.

Rowett believes the 6ft 5in tall colossus is a great fit for the club’s hard work ethic and hopes he sticks around even longer.

Rowett said: “Jake has proved to be a top player for us. He is a Premier League centre-back in the making.

“There are not many players as tall as him but he is also a very good athlete. If you see his sprint times, he covers a lot of ground.

“He has also played a lot of games for us. He is a character and he does what we ask of him.

“Shaun Huntchinson and Mahlon Romeo have also signed long deals and they epitomise what we want – we aim to build something special around these players.

“Jake is a fantastic asset for Millwall if we can keep him long-term.

“Maybe if you look at him from the outside, he might not be valued so much.

“But he is more comfortable on the ball than you think – if we ask him to play five-a-sides, he has shown he can be creative. He has only had licence to do that for four or five months so I believe there is a lot more to come.

“He has even played up front a few times in training and his finishing is unusually good. I certainly would not want to face him and Matt Smith towards the end of a game – that would be an interesting prospect!”

Rowett is also hoping to tie up some of his younger prospects during the early part of the summer, game commitments allowing.

“There are young ones coming to the ends of their deals in the next year and we would not want to let them get to the stage of just having 12 months left,” he said. “That is when it becomes complicated.

“Older players are more comfortable with that situation.

“Most of those who have a year left or longer I would hope to have a look at. A lot are very valuable to us.”


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