Thoughts on the Liam Cooper choice Leeds United must make despite Pascal Struijk’s evolution

Thoughts on the Liam Cooper choice Leeds United must make despite Pascal Struijk's evolution
Thoughts on the Liam Cooper choice Leeds United must make despite Pascal Struijk’s evolution

Will Liam Cooper earn himself a new deal at Elland Road with Leeds United?

Many Leeds United players, including team captain Liam Cooper, have contracts expiring this summer.

Cooper’s performance for Leeds is how?

Cooper’s contract with Elland Road expires in the summer of 2024, and he is currently in the last year of it.

The thirty-two-year-old has been a member of Leeds’ playing roster since Massimo signed him in 2014, when he was a Chesterfield player.

Under Marcelo Bielsa’s leadership, the Scotland international has led Leeds to promotion from the Championship in 2020.

He assumed the captaincy of the team in 2017, succeeding Liam Bridcutt.

With 271 Whites appearances under his belt, the center-back has assisted on six goals and scored 11 goals.

One of those occurred in a 2-2 draw with Cardiff City in the season’s opening match. But in the process of scoring, he injured his plantar fascia, which allowed Joe Rodon and Pascal Struijk to take over as Daniel Farke’s starting duo.

They seized the chance and have only allowed Cooper to make five more appearances since.

He still has two starts left, but the last one showed that, as his contract expires, his playing abilities are beginning to wane.

Cooper’s most recent start for Leeds ended in a disappointing 3-1 loss to Southampton; this may have further solidified Farke’s beliefs about which players are the core of Leeds’ defense.

Must Leeds offer Liam Cooper a new contract?

Two more crucial Leeds players who are essential to the dressing room but have expiring contracts at Elland Road are Stuart Dallas and Luke Ayling.

They might have a slim chance of landing another contract to stay in West Yorkshire, but Cooper’s situation is completely different from those of the other two.

Even though many of the heroes who helped Leeds get promoted in 2020 have already moved or are probably going to do so this summer, Cooper is someone who should be kept on.

He still has work to do to earn himself a new contract.

Any successful team needs leadership and seniority, and while all three of those players have a ton of both, Cooper is the one who gives a squad the most of both.

Even though his playing hasn’t been as consistent as it once was, he has been a magnificent captain for many years. Cooper is a player who is more valuable to the Whites than his skill, regardless of the league they play in.

If Leeds don’t get promoted, Dallas and Ayling might have a better chance, but Cooper is the only player who can be important no matter what league Leeds play in.

Since he has never been the fastest center back, his lack of athleticism and pace aren’t as apparent as they are for players in a wide berth, which means he can still make a bigger impact on the field than the other aging, seasoned Leeds players.

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Struijk is the clear first choice and could be the team’s long-term captain, having already assumed that position in a few games this season.

But Cooper ought to be there to help him advance into that role and responsibility.

Furthermore, they play the same left-sided, left-footed center back position. Even though Struijk is only 24 years old, he can still gain leadership and defending skills from the seasoned player.

In Farke’s current formation, he has been a man reborn, able to play out from the back more confidently and easily than any of Leeds’ other center-backs.

His self-assurance is at an all-time high for the first time in a few years, but it might be put to the test once more in the upcoming months and years; particularly if Leeds must contend with the Championship once more or face greater pressure in the Premier League come 2023–2024.

In that sense, Cooper ought to be involved in whatever the club’s future holds.

He deserves a testimonial this summer, but the team ought to go above and beyond by signing him to a longer contract.

This is especially important given the club’s youthful and inexperienced roster, which has lost players like Forshaw, Gateano Berardi, Mateusz Klich, and Pablo Hernandez recently.

Dallas and Ayling, for example, may depart for Farke and the Leeds hierarchy in the upcoming phase, but some of that experience should remain, and Cooper is by far the best option who will make sure Struijk eventually inherits the mantle.







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