COLIN Cooper wants Antony Sweeney to be Hartlepool United’s “Captain Marvel” - and that is by emulating the goalscoring knack of Bryan Robson.
The long-serving midfielder was last week confirmed as the club’s new skipper and will lead Pools into League Two at Rochdale on Saturday.
Sweeney admits he will not be a rabble-rousing type in the mould of former England skipper Robson.
But Cooper, who played under Robson at Middlesbrough, believes Sweeney can learn a thing or two from the player nicknamed “Captain Marvel” during his decorated career.
“I’ve spoken to Tony at length about the captaincy but also about his own game and I know he is desperate to improve on last year, especially with his goals return,” he said.
“The point I’ve made to Tony is that sometimes he’s in the penalty box too early, he’s too keen to get involved in the attack.
“I’ve told him you’ve got to be more like Bryan Robson, arriving in the box late.
“Nobody picks you up if you arrive late, it’s all about timing.
“Tony has that in his make-up, that ability to play off the back of midfield players and just watch what is happening and arrive in the 18-yard box at the perfect time.
“But that’s about learning, I think at the moment he’s used to bombing on.
“While he’s good at that, I think if we can get him to think about ‘where, when and how’, then he will get the goals.”
There will be another former Boro boy on hand to help Sweeney adjust his game.
Assistant boss Craig Hignett forged a reputation as a goalscoring midfielder during his playing days and Cooper admits that know-how could be key.
“Higgy was very good at standing in areas and watching other people arrive on time!” he laughed.
“But no, Higgy had a great knack of doing that.
“You can’t get any more glowing praise than when Juninho said that he loved playing with the likes of Hignett and (Nick) Barmby because they were technically good players.
“If Tony talks to Craig about midfield players arriving on the blind side then it can only help.
“You do that on a regular basis then you’ll get goals.”