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Leeds captain Pearce comments on 'great' Liam Cooper

Jason Pearce was impressed with Liam Cooper’s performance in Leeds United's 3-1 victory over Blackpool.

Cooper continued in the Whites starting line-up following the suspension of first-choice Giuseppe Bellusci, who was serving one match on the sidelines having picked up his fifth yellow card of the season in the 2-2 draw with Charlton.

23-year-old Cooper, who started his career at Hull City, before moving to Chesterfield, transferred to Leeds in the summer of this year, signing a three-year contract, and keeping a clean sheet on his full debut for the Elland Road side. He has been in and out of the side since then, making a total of five starts and two substitute appearances this season, but he put in a solid performance in Bellucci’s absence on Saturday, scoring the opening goal, causing many fans to call for his inclusion in the starting XI when the Championship returns after the international break.

He partnered club captain Jason Pearce in the centre of defence - the 26-year-old starting all but one of the Whites league games this term - and they defended well, limiting Blackpool to just one shot on target - although Nile Ranger converted the chance. The former Scotland youth international won two tackles and three aerial duels, and his calmness under pressure shows a remarkable maturity when compared with Bellusci - whose physicality does not make up for his inability to read the game.

Pearce was impressed with Cooper’s performance against the Championship bottom club, and he told the Yorkshire Post that he believed the duo worked well together in the heart of the Leeds defence.

He said: “I have always said this; I rate Coops really highly.

“He’s great and while he is only a young lad and still learning, he is a great player.

“I was delighted he got the goal on Saturday and I thought we did well at the back together, so we will see what happens.”

Cooper will be looking to make an impact on the starting XI at the close of the international break, and he will be hoping that head coach Neil Redfearn sticks with him, rather than selecting the once-again available Bellusci.

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