Northern Ireland Football Awards: Joel Cooper picks up Player of Year award

Joel Cooper
Joel Cooper starred for Linfield as they won the Premiership title last season

Former Linfield winger Joel Cooper has been named as the Northern Ireland Football Awards Player of the Year winner for the 2019-20 season.

Cooper helped the Blues to the league title last term and the 24-year-old has subsequently joined League One club Oxford United.

"It's a bit of a surprise to me to get this award. I wasn't expecting it, but I am delighted," said Cooper.

"Some great players have won it in the past."

"Jimmy Callacher won it last year and it's great to keep it at Linfield for another year."

Cooper joins an elite band of players who have won both the young player and senior award, including Gavin Whyte, Stuart Dallas, Liam Boyce, Michael Gault, Noel Bailie and Mark Glendinning.

"It's good to win both the young player and the senior award. It wasn't a bad time for me at Linfield, two league titles and a Player of the Year award is something I'm very pleased about."

'A crazy few months'

Next on Cooper's list of targets will be to join the four most recent double winners by adding a full international cap to his achievements, having been called up to the Northern Ireland squad by manager Ian Baraclough immediately after making the move to Oxford.

"It's been a crazy few months for me and while 2020 probably hasn't been a great year for a lot of people it's been brilliant for me," said Cooper.

"I was disappointed that I didn't get to play again for Linfield. I didn't know at the time in March that was going to be my last game for the club.

"When I got the call from Oxford everything happened within a couple of days and it's been a great couple of months.

"Getting the call up to the senior international squad is something that I wasn't expecting, but I'm honoured to be a part of it."

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