Alan Hutton admits he is bitterly disappointed to see Leeds United defender Liam Cooper ruled out of international duty with Scotland due to injury.
The former Aston Villa and Scotland full-back, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, says that the 28-year-old could make a big impact at the heart of the defence for Steve Clarke but that he needs to actually be playing to lay down a marker.
The Championship side confirmed that the centre-back and club captain would not be adding to his two caps this international break after suffering an injury in the win over Blackburn Rovers.
Hutton says Cooper’s withdrawal is yet another bitter pill to swallow for the Scotland fans and insists he could have make waves playing for his country if he manages to stay fit.
Hutton told Football Insider: “It’s one of those areas where I think we’ve struggled and I do think Liam Cooper is a very good player. He’s obviously a big plus to have in the squad.
“He’s not managed to stay fit for the international games which is very disappointing but it’s the other call-offs – Robertson, McTominay, Fraser – as well. It’s been a disappointing campaign but these are important games in the lead up to the play-offs.
“(Could Cooper be a regular for Scotland?) I think so. Let’s face it, how much competition have we got. You’ve got Devlin there, you’ve got McKenna, Charlie Mulgrew comes in sparingly if needed. You can definitely put your stamp down but for that you have to be there.”
Cooper’s first two appearances for Scotland came earlier this season after impressing at the heart of Marcelo Bielsa’s defence, with injury forcing him out of the national side twice now.
He has a 12 games under his belt for Leeds this season and a total of 166 Championship outings to his name.