By Mark Smith

3rd Mar, 2021 | 12:00pm

Ben Parker: Liam Cooper guaranteed to start for Leeds when everyone is fit

Ben Parker has insisted that Leeds United skipper Liam Cooper is guaranteed to start in the Premier League this season.

Marcelo Bielsa is facing a potential defensive headache soon, with Diego Llorente, Gaetano Berardi and Robin Koch almost all available for selection.

Add Pascal Struijk to the mix, and Parker believes there are four defenders fighting for one spot alongside Cooper for the Whites.

Speaking to the Yorkshire Evening Post, Parker claimed that the criticised skipper is almost guaranteed to start under Bielsa.

“I think Bielsa likes the balance of having Liam Cooper, the left-sided defender, on the left side of the defence and with him being captain he’s got the respect of the manager,” he said.

“To go alongside him you’ve got a Spanish international, a German international, a club legend in Berardi and Struijk who has been superb.

“For me, it’s going to be Liam Cooper and someone else. When he gets the chance to play three at the back it gives him more options.”

Cooper has often been labelled “League-One Liam” during his time at Elland Road, and this heavy criticism is completely unnecessary.

The Scottish international has made some mistakes this season, but who hasn’t? Most of this squad have when taking risks, and he has been superb for the majority of our return.

Is this down to Llorente or Koch?

Both seasoned internationals, eventually they will be expected to start together when both fit, something that may have to wait until next season at Elland Road.

Llorente has been superb since returning from injury, so Koch may find it hard to fight his way back into the starting XI.

This is a brilliant headache to have though, going from having only one or two available to all five will be incredible and Bielsa will be desperate for that competition in his squad.

In other Leeds United news, Pundit claims Jack Harrison has to prove himself yet again