Leeds United handed dressing room boost by Liam Cooper after what 'we've seen' - expert
Leeds United have been handed a major boost with Liam Cooper back in the starting XI, according to Alex McLeish.
The former Scotland manager, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, suggested the 30-year-old’s experience and “calming” influence had been “badly missed” by the rest of the squad.
Cooper has started Leeds’ last three games after coming back from injury and helped keep a clean sheet in two.
Prior to the win over Watford, the Whites’ last shutout came back in November against Crystal Palace.
McLeish insisted Cooper’s comeback has made a big impact on the rest of the squad.
McLeish told Football Insider’s Russell Edge: “Cooper’s got many years of experience. He’s up there at around 30-years-old now.
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“He’s been an absolute stalwart for Leeds and you can see how badly they missed him when he’s out. You see how calming he is for the foreign players in the team.
“When Cooper’s out, they have to take the mantle and you can see there’s extra pressure on them.
“Sometimes we’ve seen them on film actually feeling that pressure. The fact Cooper’s back, I think has given them a bit of confidence together.”
Cooper played every minute of Leeds’ opening 14 league games before being sidelined with a hamstring injury.
Diego Llorente, Pascal Struijk, Robin Koch and Luke Ayling have all featured at centre-half in his absence.
Cooper returned to the bench against Wolves last month in what was his first inclusion in a matchday squad under Jesse Marsch.
He played the full 90 against Southampton, Watford and Crystal Palace, picking up a win and two draws.