By Joe Roberts

1st Oct, 2023 | 10:10am

BBC pundit: Liam Cooper should be axed for 'better' Pascal Struijk after Leeds humbling v Southampton

Pascal Struijk should remain in the Leeds starting lineup in place of Liam Cooper, according to Jon Newsome.

Speaking on BBC Radio Leeds (30 September), the pundit called for Joe Rodon to return to the side to partner the Belgian following Cooper’s poor display against Southampton.

Rodon sat on the bench for the Whites’ 3-1 humbling at St Mary’s on Saturday (30 September) following his one-game suspension for a red card against Hull City.

Newsome said, as quoted by Leeds United News: “Rodon’s got to come back in. For Coops, for me. I thought Struijk did a lot better. I thought he was the one who played on the front foot.

“It still didn’t help us with that unbalanced bit. And he’s not comfortable coming out on the right-hand side. I thought Coops, he wasn’t at his best today.”

Reality check

Daniel Farke faced a reality check just two minutes into his trip to the South Coast, with Adam Armstrong giving the Saints a rare early lead.

Things went from bad to worse, and Cooper’s poor performance helped end Leeds’ six-game unbeaten run in the Championship.

While Cooper was just one of many Leeds players who were not up to standard at St Mary’s, many were surprised that Rodon was not brought back into the side.

The Welshman and Struijk have been Farke’s go-to partnership this season, but Cooper helped Leeds to a clean sheet last weekend against Watford, so perhaps the manager did not want to change a winning side.

This decision has backfired, however. Cooper completely lost Armstrong in the buildup to Southampton’s opener, and many would feel he could have done more to try and stop the Saint’s following strikes. Rodon has been a top performer for Farke all season and has settled into the club excellently

The Elland Road faithful will remain positive despite the result but disappointed by te nature of the defeat. While Southampton have had a subpar start to life back in the Championship, most expected them to kick into gear at some point, and Leeds happened to be the victim.

The options are there, and while Cooper has been a key player for the Whites for a number of seasons, quality of often valued over loyalty.

In other Leeds news, a Sky Sports commentator has raved about what a “brilliant” Whites star did against Southampton.