TalkSPORT pundit Rory Jennings believes Leeds United defender Liam Cooper is not good enough to play in the Premier League.
The Lowdown: Cooper is Bielsa stalwart
Cooper has been an important member of Marcelo Bielsa’s squad since the Argentinian made the move to Elland Road in 2018.
He is the captain of course, and has made 110 appearances under the former Athletic Bilbao boss (Transfermarkt).
The skipper has not been at his best this term though, drawing criticism from sections of the Elland Road support.
The Latest: Jennings slams Cooper
Speaking on talkSPORT, Jennings questioned the Scotland international’s ability. He said:
“They have got some jewels. (Kalvin) Phillips, obviously brilliant, Raphinha obviously brilliant, (Patrick) Bamford, you can make a case for him. But Liam Cooper is not a brilliant player, is he? He’s not a Premier League player. You can probably list half a dozen who can do a job in the Premier League.
“There are players in the Championship that are better than a lot of Leeds players because a lot of what made them good last year was the (Marcelo) Bielsa factor, the way they played.”
The Verdict: Has a point
Leeds were a breath of fresh air last season, certainly in an attacking sense, as they found the back of the net 62 times (Sky Sports). However, defensively, they often struggled to contain their opponents – no other side in the top 11 conceded more than Leeds’ 54.
Is Cooper good enough to play in the Premier League?
Cooper was not always in Bielsa’s starting XI – he made 25 appearances in the Premier League – but of the 13 games he missed, Leeds kept five clean sheets, compared to seven in the 25 when he did appear.
Before signing for Leeds, the majority of his career had been spent in League One and League Two – while that does not mean he does not have the ability to play at a higher level, it does indicate he may be playing above where he is comfortable, even if he was called “crucial” by pundit Jack Collins last year.
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