By Craig Scott

26th Aug, 2022 | 6:10am

Leeds United: Jesse Marsch hails Liam Cooper as best he's ever seen

By Sean Fisher

Jesse Marsch heaped praise on Liam Cooper ahead of Leeds United’s Premier League clash with Brighton this weekend, with the American coach singling out his captain’s mentality.

Marsch will be boosted by the return of Cooper this weekend, with the Leeds United captain making a full recovery from the freak Achilles injury he suffered over the summer.

Cooper, who turns 31 next week, has been a huge presence in the Leeds defence since he signed for the Yorkshire club back in 2014, and Marsch is delighted to have his skipper available for selection against Brighton this week.

Diego Llorente and Robin Koch have done a superb job during Cooper’s absence, but Marsch has backed the defender to compete for his spot in the starting lineup, hailing his elite mentality.

“Liam is going to play a big role in the team no matter what,” said Marsch via the club’s YouTube channel.

“Diego and Robin have done well. I told Liam before yesterday he hasn’t trained much but when he does return from injury, he plays flawlessly.

“In terms of mentality, a professional, a leader, he is the best I’ve ever seen. He will be used, he will be needed.”

Staying sidelined

There’s absolutely no denying that Cooper’s leadership skills and experience are invaluable to this Leeds United squad.

With a number of budding youngsters and new signings that need to gel with the club’s system, Cooper will be essential to Marsch in the dressing room when it comes to galvanising the squad.

However, Cooper may have to get used to this backroom job more this season. Llorente and Koch have been brilliant so far this season, and Pascal Struijk will be eager to return to his more favoured centre-back role sooner rather than later.

Frankly, Cooper has dropped down the pecking order at Elland Road when it comes to making the starting lineup, and it may be something that he has to adapt to as the season progresses.

Of course, Cooper offers depth in defence that has so often been lacking in recent seasons, but Leeds’ captain fantastic may have to take a backseat whether he likes it or not.

In other Leeds United news, this exit-linked player is expected to miss out for the clash against Brighton.