Leeds United defender Stuart Dallas has claimed that teammate Liam Cooper goes quietly about his business, but explained he’s the one who sets the example to the entire squad.
Cooper, who is the Leeds club captain, was pivotal in the club’s promotion-winning campaign last year and is now part of an exciting team trying to prove themselves at Premier League level.
The 29-year-old defender missed the opening league defeat to Liverpool through injury, but returned to help the club earn a first three points of the season against Fulham.
He is a left-footer centre-back that has been reborn since the arrival of manager Marcelo Bielsa a couple of years ago and taken his game to a level many never expected.
The Scotland international will surely be named in Bielsa’s starting XI on Sunday afternoon for the Yorkshire derby away to Sheffield United, which would be his 200th appearance for the club if he does feature.
Dallas has hailed Cooper for approaching his milestone appearance and has waxed lyrical about his impact at Elland Road.
“I knew he was coming up to his 200th game and Coops isn’t really one for taking the plaudits or anything, he just goes quietly about his business,” Dallas said, as quoted by the club’s official website.
“Playing 200 games is an incredible achievement at a club like this and as our captain as well he is someone who sets an example everyday and somebody who not only the younger players can learn off, but the senior players can learn off as well.
“He does everything the right way, he’s a great leader and a credit to himself and his family.”
Cooper is certainly not one of the high-profile names within the Leeds squad, but there aren’t many individuals more important than him and he epitomises the improvement of the group since Bielsa took charge.
Leeds have signed two quality centre-backs this summer in Robin Koch and Diego Llorente, but both are going to have to work extremely hard to dislodge the captain from his starting position.
Bielsa has proven in the early weeks of the season he will give the players that earned promotion a chance in the top-flight, with Patrick Bamford currently nailed-on in the side after a brilliant start.