Liam Cooper admits Leeds United have an “incredible” competition for center-back spots, but insists it can only be a good thing.
Leeds have four strong options in Cooper’s position and all of them are currently in good shape. It has been a rare boost for Marcelo Bielsa this season. Besides Cooper, he has Diego Llorente, Robin Koch and Pascal Struijk at his disposal.
Having all four available has led to a dilemma Bielsa has rarely had this season. Koch and Llorente have both had injury issues since joining the club this summer.
Considering the money Leeds have invested in them, they are some of the club’s most important players. But Captain Cooper and Struijk shone in their absence.
An expert recently claimed that Bielsa now faces her toughest dilemma yet like the boss of Leeds by choosing the right combinations.
Cooper, however, seems content with the idea of Bielsa spinning his troops and believes that he and his competitors now need to increase their games even more to earn their place.
“Yes, 100%” he said LUTV when asked if he had a point to prove now.
“I am a great believer; it is only healthy for us.
“We have four incredible middle halves to play, obviously a German international, a Spain international and me and Pascal all for these two positions.
“So you have to apply yourself, train hard every day and do what the manager asks and play when called.
“I don’t think there is no ego or anything like that.
“There are no bad feelings when you are not playing.
“We just push each other to do our best and keep it going for a long time.”
Bielsa says all defenders are up for grabs
After leaving Struijk in favor of Cooper and Llorente for Leeds’ last game, Bielsa explained his thought.
“All the center-backs had the chance to play,” he said. “Koch then Llorente, Cooper and Pascal. [Luke] Ayling when he had to play there, even at one point [Kalvin] Phillips.
“All of them had a very good level. In such a long season, the three most defensive positions, the two central defenders and the defensive midfielder, good to be able to count on five players. Considering also that Pascal, Koch and Llorente can play as defensive midfielders.
So far, Cooper has started the most league games for Leeds this season, with 22. Struijk has made 19 appearances, with 17 starts; Koch has started 11 times out of 13 appearances; and Llorente made seven starts and one substitute appearance.
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