Hartlepool United’s Luke James attracts 21 scouts to Victoria Park for Bournemouth game

Luke James attracted a host of scouts to watch him against Bournemouth. Picture By Frank Reid
Luke James attracted a host of scouts to watch him against Bournemouth. Picture By Frank Reid

NEALE Cooper has revealed that there were 21 scouts at Victoria Park to run the rule over teenage ace Luke James at the weekend.

The 17-year-old has attracted attention as a result of the goalscoring exploits which saw him pick up the league’s apprentice-of-the-month prize for January.

And there was a strong contingent of Championship and Premier League observers in the stands at the Vic during Saturday’s goalless draw with Bournemouth.

James, though, failed to hit the heights of his previous outing against Carlisle United, during which he netted twice in a 4-0 rout.

But Cooper says it would be unfair to judge the youngster on the evidence of one afternoon.

“Luke was up against two good defenders and he knows he struggled a bit,” the Pools chief told SportMail today.

“At that age he will be up and down and he came in afterwards and was honest about it, he had an off-day and will learn from it.

“But everything’s been great so far – nice headlines and that happens with young lads.

“I know there were a lot of scouts there to watch him - 21 of them - but we didn’t tell him that.

“He is a very good player and can’t be judged on one game.”

Read more in today’s Sportmail, plus Craig Hope’s full match report and more reaction and photos.