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Leeds: Marcelo Bielsa urged not to start Liam Cooper

Leeds: Marcelo Bielsa urged not to start Liam Cooper - Leeds United News

Former Leeds player Noel Whelan has told Liam Cooper to ‘wait his turn’ as he becomes available again following suspension.

The Lowdown: Cooper returns

Cooper has been banned for Leeds’ last three games after picking up a controversial red card for a challenge on Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus.

Marcelo Bielsa has elected to go with Pascal Strujik and Diego Llorente in Cooper’s absence – Llorente was on target with a late equaliser in the 1-1 draw against Liverpool.

And he and Strujik then kept a clean sheet when Manchester United, the second-highest scorers in the division, visited Elland Road.

Llorente in particular played so well in April that he was named in WhoScored’s team of the month.

And Cooper himself labelled Strujik ‘different class’. But Leeds’ momentum stalled on the South Coast last week as they went down 2-0 against Brighton.

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General view inside Elland Road ahead of Leeds United v Nottingham Forest

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The Latest: Wait your turn, says Whelan

Bielsa must now decide whether to draft club captain Cooper back into the line-up as Leeds host European hopefuls Spurs on Saturday lunchtime.

Whelan, though, believes he should stick with the replacement partnership for the time being.

“I think Strujik is one of the players that did okay,” he told Football Insider.

“The thing about Strujik and Llorente is that they’re growing together.

“They need better help in front of them and they didn’t have that the other day.

“We were absolutely shocking all over the field.

“I mean it was embarrassing how badly we actually played at the weekend.

“We need a better performance but I’m not sure whether Liam Cooper should come back into the side.

“I think he needs to wait his turn.”

The Verdict

Leeds’ defence is in for one of the most daunting tests in the Premier League on Saturday, going up against Harry Kane, Son-Heung min and Gareth Bale.

Bielsa has hailed Cooper, valued at £6.3million by Transfermarkt, as a ‘generous’ player who prioritises the needs of his team-mates and claimed ‘you can’t find a better professional than him’.

That indicates that he truly values his presence in games of this magnitude. Over the course of the season, only injury has kept him out of clashes with ‘big six’ opposition.

He will probably recalled in place of Strujik.

In other news, this Leeds midfielder looks to be on his way this summer.

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Article title: Leeds: Marcelo Bielsa urged not to start Liam Cooper

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