By David Woods

30th Jul, 2020 | 10:34am

'Improved beyond recognition' – Adrian Durham hails 'terrific' Leeds star who was 'truly awful'

Adrian Durham has hailed Leeds United captain Liam Cooper after a standout season in the Championship.

Cooper has pushed on under Marcelo Bielsa to a level that has surprised even Leeds fans and helped his side to the best defence in the Championship.

Durham said the player had “improved beyond recognition” but said more questions would be asked of Cooper in the Premier League.

Talking on Drive (talkSPORT, Wednesday, 5pm), Durham said, “Liam Cooper has improved beyond recognition. I saw him at Wembley about six years ago in a cup final, the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy i think, and he was awful, truly awful.

“His nickname was League One Liam. I think the Leeds fan called him it and he’s proved them wrong under Bielsa.

“No one recognizes him anymore, a terrific leader and defender… Now questions will be asked in the Premier League and it’s up to him to prove them wrong again.”

Cooper has been transformed under Marcelo Bielsa but he’s not the only one.

This crop of players know that they’ve been lucky to be coached by one of the elite managers in the world and if he can inspire them to Premier League consolidation it will be a remarkable achievement.

Cooper himself has taken the League One Liam nickname and used it as motivation to prove the doubters wrong.

However, in an interview with Phil Hay in The Athletic, he admitted that he deserved the moniker at times.

“To be honest, I probably was ‘League One Liam’ at times,’ he admits. ‘I’m not being funny but there were times when I wasn’t great.

“Nicknames like that can catch on. People form opinions and it sticks. I’d like to think I’ve played my way out of that now but I took it on the chin anyway. I don’t care what people think of me. You’ve got a problem if you let it affect you.”

Cooper has earned his shot in the Premier League and we can’t wait to see the current Leeds squad living out their dreams in the top-flight.

In other Leeds United news, ‘Why I cancelled Sky’, ‘Nonsense’ – Many Leeds fans attack Sky pundit after comments on rivals