By Craig Scott

16th Sep, 2020 | 7:10am

'Wouldn't have thought twice' - Exclusive: Pundit thrilled by Leeds key player boost

We’re delighted to welcome former England goalkeeper Paul Robinson as our exclusive columnist. Each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at Leeds United…

Paul Robinson believes it is “very important” for Robin Koch’s introduction to the Premier League to have Leeds United captain Liam Cooper playing alongside him.

Cooper, 29, was ruled out of the 4-3 defeat at Liverpool on Saturday with a minor injury, forcing Marcelo Bielsa to start the inexperienced Pascal Struijk alongside Koch, 24, for his Leeds debut.

Fortunately for the Whites, Cooper will be fit and ready to play against Fulham this weekend [via BBC Radio Leeds’ Adam Pope] after returning from international duty with Scotland with an injury.

Robinson claims that the defensive display at Anfield wasn’t good enough and that he was worried about the defence as soon as he saw Cooper wasn’t playing.

“We saw on Saturday how key he is to Leeds,” Robinson told MOT Leeds News.

“He and Ben White were stalwarts of the team last year – the defensive stability, at times, was built on those two.

“When you bring a new player to the Premier League like Robin Koch, it’s very important he has experience and a captain next to him.

“I wouldn’t have thought twice or worried about Koch if Cooper had been next to him but when I saw the centre-half partnership before the game, I did fear for us.

“Cooper is vital to Leeds. I think he’s going to be very important to Koch’s introduction to the Premier League and to have him alongside him.

“It was a young goalkeeper playing his first Premier League game and two Premier League debutants at centre-back.

“To have that triangle at the back I did fear for us but Koch will get better and better when he’s playing alongside Cooper.”

Cooper, in our opinion, was one of the most under-rated players at Elland Road last season as Leeds won the Championship title and promotion to the Premier League.

White did so well alongside the Scotland international that it took a lot of the shine off of his performances for the Yorkshire giants.

Cooper does have the odd mistake in him and the Premier League is basically a new test for him as he’s only ever made two top-flight appearances in his entire career – and they were in the 2009/10 season for Hull.

But we’re confident he can step up and shine alongside Koch once he’s fit and ready to play again.

In other Leeds United news, the Whites have set their sights on this Portuguese attacker.