Leeds United captain

Reintroducing Liam Cooper to the Leeds United starting XI could destroy the blossoming partnership of Pascal Struijk and Diego Llorente at centre-half.

That is according to ex-United striker and lifelong fan Noel Whelan, speaking exclusively to Football Insider after the skipper was spotted back in training in a video Leeds posted to their official website.

Cooper has not featured since Leeds’ 2-0 defeat at the hands of West Ham on 8 March.

After confirming that the 29-year-old was absent through illness, Marcelo Bielsa and has fielded Struijk and £18million summer signing Diego Llorente at the back.

Whelan is wary of upsetting the rhythm of the defensive pair and suggests that Cooper may need to be patient to get back in the side.

“I don’t think you should change it if it isn’t broken,” he told Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs.

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“The two that have been playing centre-half, Struijk and Llorente, they have got a decent understanding and are beginning to build that relationship up.

“To go in there and change it back around might be a mistake. They’ve been very aggressive, very sound and looked excellent together.

“But I’m not making the choices and the good thing is that we’ve got all four centre-halves to choose from. Whoever goes out there is going to have to do the job.”

Cooper signed for Leeds from Chesterfield in 2014.

He has gone on to feature 220 times for the West Yorkshire club, scoring nine goals.

In other news, a top pundit claims Joe Gelhardt could quit Leeds United unless he is given a chance in the first-team.