By Mark Smith

14th Jun, 2021 | 3:55pm

Kenny McLean thrilled by Leeds ace Liam Cooper

Kenny McLean was singing the praises of Leeds United skipper Liam Cooper as he started for Scotland against the Czech Republic on Monday.

The Whites defender was set to start on the bench, but an injury to Kieran Tierney handed him the perfect opportunity.

BBC pundit McLean would have played himself if it wasn’t for injury, but he admitted he has been thrilled by Cooper in the Premier League.

Speaking live on the BBC before kick-off, McLean was asked about Cooper as he was the big talking point for his country.

“Liam Cooper is playing in the Premier League week in, week out,” he said.

“Leeds captain with plenty of experience, he is someone that the management rely on and he knows that so, of course, Tierney is a big loss, but Cooper is a very good replacement.”

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Regardless of injury to Tierney, there should be no question marks around Cooper starting for Scotland.

Grant Hanley has been in the Championship with Norwich for yet another year after that shocking season in the Premier League, and he is nailed on to start.

He may have experience, but there is no chance he is better than Cooper, especially after his years with Marcelo Bielsa.

Steve Clarke will have some huge decisions to make ahead of the clash with England on Friday evening at Wembley, and it would be brilliant to see Cooper and Kalvin Phillips battle it out.

McLean has been up close with Cooper in the squad, and it is very clear that he is highly respected as yet another one of our own shine in the EUROs.

In other Leeds United news, Contact made: Bielsa wants to sign ‘Unbelievable’ African star, Whites must pay £20m – report