Quick links

Championship

Liam Cooper is Leeds United's unluckiest player, is problem irreversible?

Leeds United's Liam Cooper

Can Liam Cooper step up for Leeds United next time he is called upon as Pontus Jansson's stand in?

Leeds manager Garry Monk talks to Pontus JanssonLeeds manager Garry Monk talks to Pontus Jansson

Pontus Jansson has been a dream signing for Leeds United. He has been a leader in Garry Monk's first choice XI, solidified the club's defence, and galvanised the Elland Road crowd.

Yet the inspirational Swede's arrival has not been good news for everybody, just look at Liam Cooper.

Not only has the Scot lost his place in the Leeds team, every time he has been called upon to step in for Jansson the side has looked markedly worse off for it.

The back four looks more ponderous without Jansson, and the crowd becomes a little less excitable and more nervous.

It is tough to judge how much of this is due to Cooper's performances, and how much is simply down the fact he is not Pontus Jansson.

It is a tough spot for Cooper to be in, and as Jansson's occasional stand in, it is evident that he is Leeds' unluckiest player - for if he was capable of rousing the crowd and dominating the defence, they never would have needed the Swede in the first place.

What makes it tougher for Cooper is that his opportunities are so irregular that there is no chance to bed in. It's a game for suspension here and there, an occasional illness, or when the entire back four is rotated in a cup competition.

Leeds United's Liam CooperLeeds United's Liam Cooper

Including the weekend defeat at home to Cardiff, Cooper's last five starts do not make for pretty reading. Leeds have lost four of them, and drawn one - a match where he played alongside Jansson against Aston Villa when he was replacing Bartley. Oh and he was sent off in the defeat to Sutton for good measure too.

Called up into Scotland's squad last season, Cooper is stuck in a cycle that he needs to find a way to break, but what makes it tougher is that his confidence may also be waning, knowing that he is under pressure with fans questioning whether he is up to the task.

Realistically it is only a matter of time before Jansson picks up another suspension and Cooper needs to be ready. Especially if it happens at play-off time.

Cooper needs to show he can step up and ensure there is no drop off when he is in the side, and that the problem which ails him is not irreversible.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch