Leeds United manager Neil Redfearn explained at his press conference ahead of the Norwich City game this evening that he has no worries over the longevity of defender Liam Cooper.
Cooper was dropped for the defeat against Cardiff City with Giuseppe Bellusci resuming his place in the back four for the 2-1 defeat, with the former failing to get off the bench during the game.
Redfearn was quick to nip any notion of doubt in the bud, related to Cooper and his position in the side, simply stating “He could be a top player for the next few seasons,” as well as backing him to grow into the captaincy role.
Cooper’s problem this season seems to be his consistency. He has the skill set to be an extremely dominant defender for the club, but doesn’t always show it in important games for the side.
It’s a difficult challenge for the player to master his consistency and it’s something he’ll have to work hard on over the summer looking ahead to next season.
He could well come back into the line-up this evening, as the side conceded twice in the game against Cardiff, but it’s important that he makes the most of any game time between now and the end of the season to give himself confidence heading into pre-season after a summer break.
The manager’s challenge is to find a settled back four and to find a way to make the most of Cooper’s leadership ability, while complimenting his qualities and assets as a defender.
Cooper has a better chance of being consistent if he’s confident and playing well as a centre back and as the team’s key leader and Redfearn undoubtedly plays a key role in that.