By Alex McLeish

19th Nov, 2020 | 1:36pm

'Huge shot in the arm' - Exclusive: McLeish buzzes at Leeds defender development

Liam Cooper will be bursting with confidence on his return to Leeds United after helping Scotland qualify for next summer’s European Championships.

That is the view of former Scotland boss Alex McLeish who, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, has lauded the 29-year-old for managing to keep his place in Marcelo Bielsa’s side.

The Leeds captain was left as an unused substitute as Steve Clarke’s men beat Israel on penalties to qualify for their first major tournament since 1998.

He did feature in the 1-0 defeat to Slovakia in what was his fourth appearance for Scotland but was dropped back to the bench against Israel on Wednesday night.

However, McLeish has insisted Leeds will be getting a defender brimming with belief when he returns to Thorp Arch.

McLeish told Football Insider: “He’s an experienced guy, Liam Cooper, and his career will be given a huge shot in the arm by the fact he was involved in a Scotland squad just qualified for a major tournament.

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“So, you know, his confidence must be rising by the second and not only because of the great things he’s done with Leeds and what Bielsa has done for him, helping them.

“A lot of people speculated is Bielsa going to change things drastically or radically and for Liam to make the cut and be in that team as a regular then it says a lot for his ability and his mentality.”

Injuries have curtailed Cooper’s campaign so far and he has featured just five times across all competitions for Marcelo Bielsa.

He is expected to keep his place in the starting XI for Sunday’s home tie against Arsenal.

In other Leeds United news, the Whites have been touted to make a move for “box-to-box” midfielder from Premier League rivals.