Leeds United: Liam Cooper plays worrying number of minutes ahead of Scotland camp - BBC Sport journalist
BBC Sport journalist Tom English believes Liam Cooper’s lack of minutes for Leeds United this season is “worrying” for the Scottish international team as they commence their Euro 2024 campaign.
The Whites captain has started just 12 of the club’s 27 Premier League fixtures this season due to a string of injuries and hasn’t featured since the 1-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest in February.
Despite his lengthy injury absence, the 31-year-old was called up to Steve Clarke’s squad for the upcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers against Cyprus and Spain.
Writing for BBC Sport, English questioned whether Cooper – alongside several other Scottish players who have lacked consistent minutes this season – could succeed at Hampden Park on Saturday (25 March) against Cyprus.
“Some of Clarke’s players have had a worrying lack of minutes in their legs,” he wrote.
“Liam Cooper has not played since 5 February; Billy Gilmour has played 80 minutes this year; Tierney has not started a game since 27 January; Ryan Christie since 21 January; Patterson has not featured since 3 January.”
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It is still unclear whether Cooper is ready to start a match and play for a full 90 minutes, but being able to name the defender in the Scotland squad will have been a huge boost for Clarke.
Not only does Cooper bring quality on the field, but he brings a wealth of experience away from it.
Although this experience might not have come with the Tartan Army, having only amassed 11 caps for his country, Cooper’s exploits for Leeds ever since he joined the club in 2014 speak volumes for his highly successful career and what he can bring to the International environment.
His inclusion in the Scotland squad also bodes well for Javi Gracia and the Whites’ relegation run-in.
Although Max Wober has looked at home since his January transfer to the Premier League, and Robin Koch has looked much improved since the new manager’s arrival, having Cooper within his ranks to call upon is a major positive.
The centre-back was instrumental in helping the club gain promotion to the Premier League in 2020 and was once again pivotal in helping maintain the club’s top-flight status last year.
In other Leeds United news, the Whites may have yet another injury concern going into the international break as player has trouble with his left ankle after the Wolves win.
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