Coin Cooper orders young Hartlepool United stars Luke James and Brad Walker to rest

TEEN SENSATION: Brad Walker in action against Exeter City. Picture by FRANK REID
TEEN SENSATION: Brad Walker in action against Exeter City. Picture by FRANK REID

COLIN Cooper has dished out his summer orders to his most gifted stars: Go away and enjoy yourselves.

The Hartlepool United boss wants teen sensations Luke James and Brad Walker to let their hair down and do next-to-nothing before Pools report back for pre-season training on July 1.

Of course, two young and gifted players of their calibre are not going to return to work with pot bellies.

But Cooper is desperate to see them rest and re-charge their batteries ahead of what he hopes will be a promotion push next season.

James was a talisman for Pools this year, scoring 16 times, with only an ankle injury seemingly stopping him from getting up to the 20 mark.

Walker scored only three, but all were absolute belters, as the midfielder enjoyed an incredible first season in the Football League.

James, 19, is planning a trip to Dubai to see his dad, who works out there, and mentioned to SportMail that he would be keeping himself fit.

But Cooper is aware that gifted athletes need their rest and has given out his orders.

“Luke and Brad richly deserve their rests,” he said.

“What we have to watch is that we don’t get to Christmas and they are both nursing injuries for over-use.

“So what young players need to do after a long and hard season, particularly these two, is get a breather.

“They do not need to be working their bodies over the summer.

“They are naturally fit and athletic lads.

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“They need to give themselves a real break and use pre-season as their way back.

“Yes, every manager wants his group to come back in flying at the start of July.

“But if we are going to get the best out of Luke and Brad next season they are going to have to rest their bodies.

“I am giving them my permission to do that!”

Both players finished the programme clutching trophies.

James was the Supporters and Players’ player of the year while Walker landed the Young player of the year and clinched the Michael Maidens Goal of the season for his wonder strike at Southend.

Aside from one injury absence each, both players have been first-choice picks by Cooper.

“With boys of their ages you should be bringing them in and out of the team,” he said.

“If I was mananger of a Premier League or Championship club that’s what I’d have been doing.

“I don’t think I’ve been able to do that.

“Not only have they found extra energy when they’ve needed it, they’ve had the will and the want to keep going.

“They have made me keep picking them.

“As their manager I couldn’t be more proud of them.

“Not just the way they have performed, but the way they have conducted themselves, the type of young men they are and how well they have represented this club.”