YOUNGSTERS attending Dave Penney’s Football Academy at the Keepmoat Stadium complex on Wednesday evening ‘copped’ for some top tips from Doncaster Rovers star James Coppinger.
The midfielder is the latest player to help out his former boss at his Academy, launched earlier this summer, and followed in the footsteps of Jamie Price and Jason Price by acting as a guest coach alongside Eufa Pro-licence coach Penney.
“I’ve done a bit of coaching before in schools; I really enjoy it,” said Coppinger, who took part in both sessions (5-8 years) and (9-12 years), prior to signing autographs and posing for pictures.
“It was good of Copps to come down and coach the kids in his own time,” said Penney. “Footballers often come in for criticism but people don’t realise how much work some of them do in their local communities.
“I rung Copps about coming down one night and he had no hesitation. It has been great for the kids to have him here and to be coached by him and having the chance to have a little chat with him.”
Penney, who also runs an academy in Knottingley on Thursday evenings, says he is pleased with how things are going.
“Numbers are going up every week and it’s pleasing that the kids enjoy what we are doing and want to keep coming back,” he said.
“I enjoy being able to pass on a few tips to youngsters because it was something that I never had at their age. Kids also develop at different stages of their lives so somebody who has been overlooked by professional clubs still have time to make it if they have the ability and are prepared to listen to advice and work hard.”
Although disappointed that England were beaten by Italy in the quarter-finals of the European Championships on Sunday, Penney said it had proved a point.
“We’ve been talking about the importance of good passing and keeping the ball and Sunday’s game, which all the kids will have watched, highlighted what I had been saying,” he said.
Like most people with his football experience, Penney has his own view as to the reasons for England’s failure to make an impact in big tournaments.
“The Premier League is played at a hundred miles an hour,” he said. “It might be the most exciting league in the world but its not the best in technical terms. Some people say that Italian football is dull, but it produces some good players.”
Penney plans to launch an Elite Academy in the town starting in September .
It will cater for Under-13s, 14s and 15s and is aimed at those who have just missed out on being picked up by clubs.
“The idea is to develop kids who are good enough to join Rovers Academy and if I think anyone on the course is I will contact Rovers Head of Youth Football Paul Wilson,” he said.
Anyone who feels that they fit the criteria, and who is interested, contact Penney on 07873 643485 for further information.
DONCASTER Rovers Belles had been hoping to celebrate their long-awaited first FA Women’s Super League (WSL) home game of the season in style.
But not only did the wet weather put a dampner on hopes of a bumper crowd for Belles, who had laid on a number of family attractions in the East Stand concourse, but they also lost 2-0 against fellow strugglers Liverpool and exchanged places with them at the bottom of the table.
“It wasn’t the result that we had been looking for,” admitted skipper Katie Holtham. “We had been playing really well away from home in recent games but our performance on Saturday was nowhere near how we’ve been playing.
“We know that we didn’t perform and that it wasn’t acceptable and everyone has to take responsibility.
“We know that we have to play better because there are no easy games and you have to perform to get anything.
“I’ve no doubt that if we perform like we are capable of - like we did at Bristol and Lincoln for instance - that we’ll pick up points in the second half of the season and climb the table. Particularly if we learn the lessons from the the Liverpool game.
“We’ve got a glut of home games coming up in the second half of the season which normally we’d welcome as we love playing at the Keepmoat. But after Saturday’s result I’m not so sure.
“We need to get back to basics because we didn’t do the basics well against Liverpool.
“We’ve also got to work on a few other things such as keeping the ball better. If we can do that then I’m in no doubt that we can pick up points against the better teams we’ve still got to play as well as going to Liverpool and overturning Saturday’s result.
“I’m also hoping that we’ll have a couple of new players in the squad by the time we play our next game after the Olympics.”