JJ Hooper: Rob Page ‘handles me well’ and encourages me

Striker JJ Hooper has thanked manager Rob Page after he scored his first Vale goal in the 3-1 defeat to Millwall.

Some fans have criticised Page for not giving Hooper an earlier opportunity but the striker has no complaints.

I think he handles me well and I think he is a very good manager…

Hooper told the Sentinel that Page has been encouraging him with a message: “It is ‘stay positive, keep working hard in training and when your chance comes makes sure you take it’. He makes you work hard.

“I think he handles me well and I think he is a very good manager. He has given me an opportunity now and I can only thank him for that.”

Page was delighted for the striker but says there is still work to be done commenting:  “It [the goal] will give him confidence and I thought he was a constant threat. There are still things for him to work on. I have just said to him that at times he gets himself into some great positions but instead of being nice and positive, realising the centre half is not coming in, and turning and driving forward, it is too easy sometimes to go backwards.

“He got his goal and I am pleased with him for that, but when we are 3-1 down chasing the game, we had to be a bit more positive in our play.”