Trusted journalist Phil Hay has claimed that Leeds United miss the communication and experience of Liam Cooper when he doesn’t play.
The centre-back is yet to feature in the Premier League this season, suffering an injury in his only appearance so far, which came in an EFL Cup win over Barnsley.
And while Leeds have made a decent start to the new campaign and sit 11th in the league as a result, they could perhaps use some extra solidity at the back, having kept just one clean sheet so far.
While speaking about the player on The Phil Hay Show, the host claimed that Cooper can be key to helping the rest of the team with his experience.
As an example, he referenced some footage from the recent ‘Academy Dreams’ documentary, where the captain helped young defender Charlie Cresswell after a Premier League match.
He said: “They do some stuff with Charlie Cresswell. He speaks about his Premier League debut against West Ham last season, and one of the first things you see in the footage is [Michail] Antonio turning him.
“And he says, ‘the first thing Liam Cooper said to me after that was, don’t let him do that. Just step off him, let him have the ball, don’t get tight to him, because he’s really strong, he’s really physical. And he’ll do that to you all day.’
“And that goes back to what’s quite often said about Cooper, which is that he is a really good communicator at the back. And that, I think, is something Leeds miss when he’s not in the defence. That’s a really, really experienced, wise pro saying to a young kid, this is what you do and this is how you make it happen.”
TIF thoughts on Liam Cooper and Leeds…
At 31 years of age, Cooper has now played 247 times for the Whites – winning the Championship along the way – and so it is fair to say he certainly has a wealth of experience under his belt.
And with other experienced heads like Stuart Dallas out of the team with injury at the moment, Leeds could do with Cooper and the wisdom he brings to the side.
What’s more, it’s not as if Diego Llorente has been performing well for the club lately – as highlighted by his ‘pitiful’ recent display against Brentford. With that in mind, it’s not hard to see why Hay has claimed that the side miss Cooper’s communication at the back.
Perhaps Jesse Marsch feels the same way – so we may yet see Cooper return to action soon.