Speaking exclusively to Football FanCast, Dean Windass has delivered his verdict on Leeds centre-half Liam Cooper.
The Whites skipper came into the clash against Manchester United as the club’s only fit senior centre-half but hobbled off in the second period with an injury.
Leeds currently have summer signings Robin Koch and Diego Llorente both on the treatment table so this only added further insult to Marcelo Bielsa who witnessed his side absolutely ripped apart by Manchester United on Sunday evening.
They were battered 6-2 in a shambolic defensive showing that led to 26 attempts being taken towards Illan Meslier’s goal. The Frenchman was able to save eight shots but the display of Cooper and co was a huge cause for concern.
The 29-year-old did pop up with a goal but he and Luke Ayling were far from a commanding pairing at Old Trafford.
Cooper had been struggling with a knock throughout the second half but after initially receiving treatment, he had to trudge off the pitch on 72 minutes.
And speaking to FFC, Windass explained that Cooper is likely to find life increasingly difficult in the top-flight this term, revealing that he could be replaced next summer by younger and fresher legs.
He said: “I’m not criticising him, Liam Cooper, but he will find it tough. He was never the quickest anyway and when you’re in the Premier League and you’re a centre-half you’ve got to be an athlete, you’ve got to be able to run so yes, you need that pace at the back because you know what it’s like in the Premier League. Especially when everybody plays 4-3-3 and then the three up front, they’re all lightning quick.”
Windass continued: “Liam Cooper will play week in week out until the end of the season if he’s fit because he’s the captain. But I think next year if they stay up, they’ll go on and push on to get younger and better players.”
It’s unknown how long the defender will be out for or who could replace him next summer when Leeds look to exploit the transfer market.
Chelsea defender Fikayo Tomori has recently been linked on a loan deal but it’s unclear whether director of football Victor Orta will look to pursue a deal.
Either way, with such fitness issues at the back, they’ll have to consider signing someone new once the window opens.