Alex McLeish insists that losing Liam Cooper to injury would be a big blow for Leeds United ahead of Monday’s clash against Wolves.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Aston Villa and Scotland manager has lauded the impact of the centre-back since his return to the starting XI.
Leeds confirmed that the 29-year-old had picked up a groin injury on international duty and that he is a doubt for Monday’s game against Wolves after Diego Llorente was ruled out for three weeks.
📰 Liam Cooper and Diego Llorente both return to Thorp Arch after picking up groin injuries on international duty
— Leeds United (@LUFC) October 12, 2020
Having missed the opening-day defeat to Liverpool, Cooper has started Leeds’ last three Premier League games.
McLeish admits he has noticed a significant difference to the Whites’ defending since the 4-3 loss to the Reds and insists Cooper’s return to the side has brought a composure to the back line.
McLeish told Football Insider: “I didn’t realise Liam was out of the Liverpool game so there you go, you see the difference that one man makes.
“Such is the composure he’s gained as an older player, as such, he’s not a youngster anymore and when you get to that age, I remember being 29, 30 and one or two years beyond, I just knew where to go.
“You knew all about the pitch, the dimensions, where players were when you weren’t even looking sometimes and that’s experience. It’s with playing and experience of the highest level possible that makes you even better.
“Cooper, I tried to get him in a couple of squads for Scotland and he has really impressed me in terms of his longevity in that team and also taking his form into the Premier League as well.”
Cooper has played 201 times for Leeds since joining the club from Chesterfield back in 2014.
He has the likes of new arrivals Robin Koch and Diego Llorente as competition for a role at centre-back under Marcelo Bielsa.
In other Leeds United news, there has been a major update on the Whites’ pursuit of Todd Cantwell.