Could Liam Cooper's international break struggle affect Leeds?

Ipswich Town's Flynn Downes and Liam Cooper of Leeds United

The Leeds United defender was partially complicit in two poor Scotland performances.

Liam Cooper of Scotland  during the  EURO Qualifier match between Scotland  v Russia  at the Hampden Park on September 6, 2019 in Glasgow United Kingdom

Leeds United's Liam Cooper had to wait quite a long time for his international debut - and he could be forgiven for wondering if it was worth it.

At 28, Cooper made his bow for Scotland recently after previously being called up to the squad in 2016 and 2017, but failed to earn his first cap on both occasions.

But the United captain had an international break to forget and the worry for Leeds is whether he returns to West Yorkshire sapped of confidence, a broken man to some extent.

It wasn't pretty.

 

Cooper hardly covered himself in glory during the 2-1 defeat by Russia on Friday, with Scotland fans ripping into him on Twitter afterwards, before he was on the receiving end of a 4-0 mauling by Belgium at Hampden last night.

They were two horrific defensive performances from the Scots and although the Leeds skipper wasn't guilty of countless individual errors, it must've been a physically and mentally-exhausting few days and one that could potentially affect the Whites if he brings an international hangover back to Thorp Arch.

There's no shame in being ripped apart by the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, as most Premier League defenders know, so on the surface you would think that Cooper can brush it off.

Kevin De Bruyne (7) of Belgium in action against Greg Taylor (23) of Scotland during a UEFA European Qualifying Group I match between Belgium and Scotland at King Baudouin Stadium in...

But the negative reaction from fans and media will undeniably take its toll on Steve Clarke's side and time will tell how much Cooper is affected. That's the bad news.

The good news is that he's an outstanding professional and Marcelo Bielsa is one of the best man-managers around, meaning that if Cooper returns to England a bit lower on confidence prior to the international break then the Argentine will know how to proceed.

If the Hull-born star's spirit or belief is fractured in any way as a result of what happened over the past four days, Bielsa will have just the right tonic to make him better.

Liam Cooper of Leeds United applauds after the Sky Bet Championship match between Wigan Athletic and Leeds United at the DW Stadium, Wigan on Saturday 17th August 2019.

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