69 touches, 2 dribbles: Liam Cooper is Leeds' surprise attacking outlet

The Leeds captain impressed in an unfamiliar position against Ipswich.

Neil Redfearn decided he had to play his captain against Ipswich Town on Wednesday night - even if there was no space for him in his natural position.

Leeds started Giuseppe Bellusci and Sol Bamba at centre-back and - a couple of below-par recent performances aside - who could blame them?

Skipper Liam Cooper was the fall guy, being shifted out to left-back so he could remain captaining his side against Mick McCarthy's Ipswich.

But, when it came down to it, Cooper was far from a victim or passenger while out of position. In fact, he was Leeds' most attacking player at Elland Road.

  TouchesDribblesFinal-Third PassesFinal-Third EntriesMinutes Played
Liam Cooper 69 2 8 11 90
Lewis Cook 57 0 5 6 90
Sam Byram 51 1 4 2 90
Luke Murphy 51 0 3 6 90

Indeed, as Opta stats show, Cooper used his chance out wide to influence the game greater than he ever could at the heart of defence - from an attacking perspective, that is.

No Leeds star took more than Cooper's 69 touches of the ball, while the 23-year-old also won more dribbles than any of his team-mates.

In the final third, the captain completed eight passes (only Alex Mowatt made more with 9), while no one entered the final third anywhere near as many times as Cooper (11).

The Leeds man, then, took a potentially negative situation and turned it on its head. It was quite a performance from a man in such an unfamiliar position.

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch