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Gary Naysmith defends Leeds United defender Liam Cooper after Scotland showing

Romelu Lukaku of Belgium and Liam Cooper of Scotland during the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying match between Scotland and Belgium at Hampden Park on September 09, 2019 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Leeds United's Liam Cooper featured for the first time for Scotland over the international break.

Yuri Zhirkov of Russia shoots past Liam Cooper of Scotland during the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifier between Scotland and Russia at Hampden Park on September 06, 2019 in Glasgow, Scotland.

BBC Sport pundit Gary Naysmith has suggested that Leeds United defender Liam Cooper has been put in a difficult situation in regards to his recent call-up to the Scotland squad. 

Centre-back Cooper made his debut for Scotland during the international games and it is fair to say that he endured a difficult time as Steve Clarke's side were beaten by Russia and then thrashed by Belgium. 

Scotland have been suffering difficult times on the international stage for a number of years now, as they seem to be slipping further down the rankings. 

 

Speaking to Sportsround on BBC Scotland (10/09/2019), former Scotland international Naysmith defended Cooper as he stated that 'no matter what anybody says' the step up from the Championship to international football is huge. 

"Liam Cooper played in his first two games," Naysmith told Sportsround. "Normally in international football, you normally get bled in and get 20 minutes, here or there. And maybe play against a lesser nation. 

"His first two games have been against Russia and Belgium at the heart of the defence. He's not really getting a chance to learn about international football. Albeit, he would have learned a few things after the game against Belgium.

"It is very difficult for him coming from Championship football in England, and no matter what anybody says, it is a big, big step up to play international football. If you're coming into a team and you're making your first start and that team hasn't got a lot of confidence in it that makes it doubly difficult." 

Liam Cooper of Leeds United arrives prior to the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Brentford at Elland Road on August 21, 2019 in Leeds, England.

With or without Cooper, Scotland would have lost both their Euro 2020 qualifiers during the international period, but he will be hoping his recent call-up won't be his last. 

Cooper has been putting in some very strong performances for Leeds in recent seasons and during this campaign he will be hoping to guide Marcelo Bielsa's side to promotion.

Leeds are currently sitting third in the Championship table and at the weekend they will take on neighbours Barnsley. 

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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