With the announcement last week that Leeds United had secured both Liam Cooper and Stuart Dallas up to new long term contract, quickly following in the footsteps of key midfielder Kalvin Phillips, plenty of leeds fans were absolutely delighted by the news – especially as it largely came out of the blue.
With the squad preparing for Sunday’s Championship clash with Barnsley at Oakwell, former player and regular BBC pundit Noel Whelan piped up to again give his thoughts on developments at Elland Road, and he couldn’t have been more pleased with the contract for centre-half Cooper given how important a member of the squad he’s been under the charge of manager Marcelo Bielsa.
Speaking to Football Insider after news of the Scotland international’s new five year contract came through, Whelan said.
“He’s becoming an outstanding defender and I’m not surprised Leeds have given him a better contract. It’s well deserved for a centre-back who’s among the best in the Championship. He used to make too many mistakes, but he’s got so much more consistent under Bielsa. Every area of his game has improved, and the Scotland selection was well deserved as well. Is he good enough for the Premier League? Definitely. Will he be in the side if we go up next season? Definitely. Bielsa trusts him as his captain and first choice centre-back. He’s been given the new deal because top Premier League clubs have been sniffing around him.”
Cooper has long split the fanbase – solid one minute but then prone to an error leaving everyone frustrated, but there will be few who don’t acknowledge the improvement and increased consistency he’s shown, especially since our Argentine gaffer walked through the door and he’s certainly deserving of the new deal.