By Noel Whelan

19th Sep, 2020 | 8:00am

'He's getting Axed' - Exclusive: Whelan reacts to early Leeds team news

Liam Cooper has been tipped by Noel Whelan to replace Pascal Struijk in the Leeds United starting line up for their game against Fulham.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Leeds forward and boyhood Whites fan delivered his verdict after Marcelo Bielsa confirmed Cooper was available for selection.

The 29-year-old missed Leeds’ Premier League opener against Liverpool last weekend with a calf injury.

New signing Robin Koch partnered the inexperienced Struijk in their 4-3 defeat to the Premier League champions.

And now Whelan has tipped the 21-year-old to drop to the bench when Fulham visit Elland Road this weekend.

Asked by Football Insider whether it will be Struijk who makes way for Cooper, Whelan said: “Yes, yes it will be. He had 45 minutes the other night in the cup game.

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“I can’t see him keeping his place, he’s getting axed. I think you’ve got to go back to the tried and tested and your captain which is Liam Cooper.

“He’s had that week off with the calf niggle but we definitely need him back.

“We need to get the partnership between him and Koch going as quickly as possible and get that same sort of stability we had with Ben White last season.”

Cooper missed just one Championship game in 2020 as Leeds secured the Championship title and returned to the Premier League after a 16-year absence.

The Scotland international will make his 199th Leeds appearance if he features against Fulham this weekend.

Since signing from Chesterfield in 2014, the Hull-born defender has scored eight goals and provided four assists for the club he grew up supporting.

In other Leeds United news, Football Insider can REVEAL the club have submitted a new bid for a Brighton defender.