BRANDON Cooper hopes becoming a loan star at Newport County AFC can help him follow in the footsteps of Swansea teammate and now Wales international Ben Cabango.

Cooper has signed for a season with the Exiles and after making his debut in the EFL Trophy clash with Cheltenham will hope to feature in the League Two opener at Scunthorpe on Saturday.

The 20-year-old headed to Rodney Parade fresh from Wales Under-21s action in Bosnia & Herzegovina, while former age-grade defensive partner Cabango was with the seniors.

A breakthrough season for the Swans, making 26 appearances, earned a first cap as a late substitute in the win against Finland.

Cabango pinpointed a spell with The New Saints in the Welsh Premier as being key to helping him grow and Cooper is hoping for the same with County.

South Wales Argus:

“It was great for Ben, I've played with him for years throughout all the age groups,” said the defender, who has played for Swansea in the Carabao Cup and FA Cup and had a brief spell on loan at Yeovil.

“If you get the opportunities and do well then it's definitely there for the taking and Ben has done really well.

“I am trying to get games under my belt and push on every game. There are opportunities everywhere at the moment for young players that are playing and doing well.

“My ambition is to go as high as possible and play for Wales because it's right there in front of me. I want to do as well as I can for Newport and take it step by step.”

South Wales Argus:

Cooper signed at the start of the week after coming close twice to joining Michael Flynn’s squad for 2019/20.

“It's been a long time coming. In January and last summer there was a bit of interest but we couldn't quite get the deal done.

“I was glad to be at Rodney Parade on Tuesday, putting the Newport kit on. I got back from Bosnia and came to watch the game against Swansea and it was a great win for the lads.

“Then it was straight into training on Monday and into the game on Tuesday.”

When asked to describe himself as a player, Cooper replied: “I think that I'm a good ball-playing centre-half, I'm quite aggressive in my defending and don't mind a challenge. I'm quite good in the air in both boxes.”

But it’s experience that is key to his progress and after mixing it with 32-year-old Reuben Reid in midweek, Cooper is ready for more battles.

“It's going to be a test every week so I am here to learn and try to build a good foundation for my career,” he said.

The bar for County defensive loanees was set very high by Ben White in 2017/18 when he shone for Flynn, making 51 appearances and helping the Exiles beat Leeds and draw with Tottenham.

South Wales Argus:

If Cooper can have anywhere near the same impact as the 22-year-old, who is preparing for a season in the Premier League with Brighton after helping Leeds to promotion, then he’ll be a hit with the Amber Army.

First he needs to break into the starting line-up after the defensive three of Kyle Howkins, Matty Dolan and Mickey Demetriou impressed when shutting out the Swans.

“It's a great squad here and we have good options. It's a long season and I am sure everyone will play their part,” said Cooper.

It was a great result against Swansea and they showed great determination, fight and quality. Hopefully some of us lads (that played against Cheltenham) got in the manager's mind.”