Exclusive: Bruce can't believe transformation of Leeds player he's known for nearly 10 years
Alex Bruce admits he has been blown away by the way in which Leeds United defender Liam Cooper has built up his career after leaving Hull City.
The former Hull and Kilmarnock defender, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, insists the 28-year-old is a great example of a player dropping down the leagues to forge a name for himself.
Cooper, who was coming through the Tigers’ youth system when Bruce was there, left the club in January 2013 for League Two side Chesterfield.
He spent a year-and-a-half with the Spireites before moving to Elland Road, where he has become not only a first-team mainstay but captain of the club.
With Leeds on the brink of promotion to the Premier League, Bruce insists Cooper is proof that a move down the leagues is not the end for young players.
Bruce told Football Insider: “I’ll tell you who’s done very well, in my opinion, is Cooper, the centre-half, the left-sided centre-half.
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“I was at Hull with him when he was younger and he’s gone down the route of going to the lower leagues, I think he went to Chesterfield and has built himself back up.
“He’s gone and got his move to Leeds United and he’s gone on and done very well. It just goes to show, he’s a great example to players who get setbacks.
“They drop down the divisions, like what Cooper’s done and then to come back, play for a club like Leeds United at the level he has done, it’s a credit to him.”
Cooper is 10 games away from making 200 appearances for Leeds United, his debut coming back in August 2016.
With nine games left of the current Championship season, his milestone match could come in the Whites’ first game back in the Premier League.
In other Leeds United news, Noel Whelan claims talks over a “fantasy” transfer deal have taken place.