Oxford United winger Joel Cooper has agreed to rejoin Northern Ireland side Linfield in January, as reported by Football Insider.
Cooper joined Karl Robinson’s side in the summer but has been restricted to just four outings from the bench in a frustrating spell at the Kassam. Robinson was unhappy with the player’s inclusion for Northern Ireland in October, when he went away on international duty but didn’t feature.
The 24-year-old was reported to be looking for a move back home at the beginning of December, which was clarified by Robinson at the time.
“Joel’s got two issues back home at the moment and finding it very difficult to be over here,” said the former MK Dons boss.
“He spoke to me on the phone and wants to go back to Ireland until the summer. The situations that have arisen won’t be an overnight thing that we’ll be able to click our fingers and make better.
“He will go on loan back there until the summer, while the situation hopefully starts to be solved. Hopefully, he’ll be in a better place for it when he comes back.”
It has now emerged he will sign for Linfield, who are second in the Danske Bank Premiership and managed by former Northern Ireland striker David Healy. They are the reigning champions and the club Cooper left in the summer to join Oxford.
The Us are struggling to impose themselves in League One this season, they are currently 19th and level on points with Swindon Town in the last relegation spot.
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Often, fans can lose sight of the real issues facing footballers outside of the game. Clearly, Joel Grant is struggling to be away from Northern Ireland at the minute and that is reflected in this move, which it seems Karl Robinson hopes will be temporary.
Cooper hasn’t featured in a League One game since October, and the hope is he goes away and comes back the exciting prospect he seemed to be when he signed his deal at the Kassam, There’s no doubt Linfield are a top club in Northern Ireland and the experience should serve him, and Oxford, well.