Mills: 'Incredible' Cooper may be frozen out of Leeds XI after major update
“Incredible” Liam Cooper faces a “fight” to win back his place in the Leeds United starting XI, according to Danny Mills.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-Whites and England defender compared the Scotland international’s situation to that of John Terry towards the end of his Chelsea career.
Cooper has missed Leeds’ last two Premier League games with an illness and was not called into the Scotland squad for this month’s international’s for the same reason.
In his absence, Diego Llorente and Pascal Struijk have been partnered together and they kept an impressive clean sheet against high-flying Chelsea.
Against Fulham on Friday night, they helped Leeds win 2-1 with the host’s goal coming from a set-play.
Robin Koch also returned from a three-month absence at Craven Cottage meaning Marcelo Bielsa will have a full complement of centre-halves to chose from when Cooper returns.
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Asked for the 29-year-old’s position within the squad, Mills told Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley: “He’s got to fight for his place.
“Just being club captain doesn’t give you the divine right to play.
“John Terry was out of the Chelsea team for nearly a season before he was brought back in and then was the best defender in the Premier League at that stage at the age of 34, 35.
“You have to be fit and you have to be playing well.
“This is what the manager wants – competition for places raises the standards.
“If you’re not doing it somebody else comes in so your standards go up.
“You just keep edging that bar all the time – keep raising the standards.
“Liam Cooper has been a fantastic servant and done incredibly well but if you want to get back in the team you have to earn that position.”