COLIN Cooper believes loan signing Ryan Brobbel has matured as a player over the past 18-months and will bring a “liveliness” to Hartlepool United.
The 21-year-old winger signed on a month-long loan deal from Championship neighbours Middlesbrough on the eve of the new season.
It was a busy day of incomings with Brobbel moving on loan, the permanent transfers of Tommy Miller and Michael Woods confirmed and Sunderland keeper Joel Dixon arriving as emergency loan to cover for the injured Andy Rafferty.
Brobbel has since come on as a second-half substitute at Stevenage in the opening day 1-0 defeat and played the full 90 minutes of Tuesday night’s 6-2 Capital One Cup defeat at Port Vale.
Brobbel has mainly operated on the right flank for Pools so far but is comfortable on either wing. Cooper, a former Boro coach, is familiar with the highly-rated winger and he is the latest Boro player to join on loan, following in the footsteps of Christian Burgess, Matty Dolan and Luke Williams last season.
Hartlepool-born Brobbel has come through the ranks at Middlesbrough and turned professional in 2011 after impressing the hierarchy during his spell in the Academy.
He gained senior experience last season when he made 21 appearances and scored four goals during two impressive loan stints with League Two York City.
Cooper, speaking before the heavy Vale defeat, told SportMail: “Ryan gives you a liveliness, he will be positive and can go inside and outside an opponent.
“He has grown up in the last 18-months or so since I left Middlesbrough.
“He’s always been a technical footballer and being at York has really helped him.
“I have to say he looked lively on Saturday [against Stevenage] when he came on – as did Jonathan Franks who will probably be a bit disappointed not to have been in the side after a good pre-season.
“But as long as we have the options, which we have and we will have more to come I hope, then we will be okay.”
Although born in Hartlepool, Brobbel has played for Northern Ireland at junior level and went on to represent the Under 21 side at last summer’s European Championships.
Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill has previously considered taking a look at Brobbel in the senior squad as well.