Hartlepool’s teen star Luke James ‘as good as any I’ve worked with’ says boss Neale Cooper

Luke James turns to the Town End supporters. Picture By Frank Reid
Luke James turns to the Town End supporters. Picture By Frank Reid

NEALE Cooper admits Luke James is as good as any of the teenage prodigies he’s ever worked with – but the Hartlepool Utd boss is aware of prying eyes, writes CRAIG HOPE.

The 17-year-old was the two-goal hero on Saturday as Pools smashed northern rivals Carlisle United 4-0 at Victoria Park.

James – who announced his arrival on the senior stage with a stunning strike in the 2-0 win over Rochdale earlier this month – was again the star turn and netted a goal in each half to earn another man-of-the-match prize.

The Amble-born starlet is fast becoming one of the most talked about talents outside of the Premier League, and Cooper believes Pools have unearthed a real gem.

“Luke is right up there with the best young talents I’ve ever had,” said the Scottish chief after James’ goals helped rocket Pools to 10th in League One.

“James Brown was just coming through when I left, but from what I’ve seen Luke is way up there.

“He has no fear, not just about his play on the ball, he takes knocks and is not scared.

“To have that courage for a young lad is very good.

“He’s a level headed boy and got man of the match again – that’s more sweets and he will probably get a bottle of milk instead of champagne!”

Read more of Cooper’s thoughts on Luke James, plus full match report, reaction and photographs of a glorious day, in today’s Sportmail.