Leeds United supporters have been making a lot of noise in recent times after seeing their side return to the top of the Championship at the weekend.
Marcelo Bielsa’s men went into their clash with Wigan Athletic off the back of drawing 1-1 with Nottingham Forest in their previous league outing, thus slipping to second place in the division following Sheffield United’s win over Paul Cook’s Latics. Yet the Whites returned to the summit at the weekend as goals from Pablo Hernandez and Kemar Roofe inspired the visitors to come from a goal down to seal a 2-1 success at the DW Stadium, thus taking advantage of the Blades’ defeat at Forest to return to top spot in the Championship.
Thus, there have been many thrilled Leeds fans up and down the country in recent times, several of whom are very much enjoying Bielsa’s stint in charge of their side, and indeed Andrea Radrizzani’s overall leadership of the club after taking over from Massimo Cellino back in 2017.
And while the latter’s reign was certainly a controversial and turbulent one, some good did at least come out of it, namely that the club sealed a bargain £675,000 (as per Transfermarkt) deal for centre back Liam Cooper, who appears to be a lynchpin under current boss Bielsa.
The 27-year-old had been playing his football at Chesterfield just prior to his move to Leeds back in the summer of 2014, this all after beginning his career at Hull City but struggling to force his way into first team plans at the KCOM Stadium on a regular basis.
But the defender has since proven his worth and delivered the goods at Leeds in appearing 135 times in all competitions for the Whites, 13 of which have come under Bielsa in the Championship this term in their great start to the campaign.
And while there wasn’t a whole host of good to come out of the Cellino era at Elland Road, there is little doubting that the signing of Cooper, as well as a few others, was a rare positive.
The 27-year-old immediately became a regular in his first season at the club in appearing 29 times in the league in the 2014/15 campaign, before missing just seven matches the season after in their run to 13th place under a combination of Uwe Rosler and Steve Evans.
He did fall out of favour under Garry Monk during the 2015/16 season as Leeds narrowly missed out on the play-offs, eventually finishing seventh, but he has since then regained his place in the heart of the backline, appearing 30 times in the league last term and missing just three league games this time round under Bielsa.
And with some key goals already this season in netting in victories over Stoke City, Preston North End, and Ipswich Town, Cooper isn’t just influencing things in his own box, but he’s also doing so in the opposition’s penalty area.
Ultimately, Cooper has been a stalwart for Leeds since his move from Chesterfield back in 2014, and while Leeds fans are unlikely to look back on the Cellino era too fondly, there’s no doubt that his signing has proven to be a rare bright spark.
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