In comments reported by the Yorkshire Evening Post, Liam Cooper has suggested that he has had an unbelievable five years with Leeds United – but admitted that he needed to bounce back after getting off to a poor start to life at Elland Road.
Leeds have handed their fans a further boost in a week in which Kalvin Phillips’s new five-year contract was confirmed by the club. The Whites have also announced that both Cooper and Stuart Dallas have penned long-term deals.
Cooper is now set to stay until 2024. The announcement highlights the turnaround that the centre-back has enjoyed at Elland Road.
He struggled to win the supporters over during his first couple of years with United, and was a peripheral figure during Garry Monk’s tenure. He made just 11 league appearances during the 2016/17 season as the Whites came agonisingly close to reaching the play-offs.
However, the Scotland international has fought back and become an incredibly popular figure. And after signing his new contract, the Leeds captain admitted that it has not always been the easiest time.
“I have had an unbelievable five years here, I didn’t start off too great but I feel like I have really come into my own the last couple of years and I’m enjoying my football more than ever,” he said, as reported by the Yorkshire Evening Post.
“We’ve got a great squad here, the ambition of the club is massive and I’d be silly not to want to extend.”
Although Cooper still has his critics – his performance in last season’s play-off semi-final added to their ammunition – there is no question that he is one of the many to have enjoyed a dramatic improvement under Marcelo Bielsa.
The new deal however, proves just how much faith Bielsa has in the 28-year-old. And it is difficult to imagine that any Leeds player will be more determined to make up for last season than Cooper.
It looks to be a very smart piece of business to hand the defender a new deal. And he will be hoping that Leeds will be established back in the Premier League by the time the current contract comes to an end.