Marcelo Bielsa is set to back captain Liam Cooper with a key role in the Premier League should Leeds United secure promotion, according to Football Insider.
The boss firmly sees the two-time Scotland international as someone who can continue to act as a mainstay of his side in the top-flight, having trusted Cooper to start 28 of his 30 Championship appearances this term to date.
Cooper has only ever played 125 minutes in the Premier League throughout his 10-year senior career, which all came with Hull City during the Tigers’ ill-fated 2009/10 season under Phil Brown and Iain Dowie that resulted in relegation.
Brown awarded a then 18-year, 27-days-old Cooper his league debut in the starting line-up for a 6-1 trouncing away to Liverpool, while later turning to the centre-back as a second-half substitute at home to Arsenal in a 2-1 defeat.
Cooper would not taste regular first-team action until the 2012/13 season following an initial loan move to Chesterfield while the Spireites were in League Two, and has gone on to make 175 of his 184 career Championship outings with Leeds.
Bielsa would appear to have no doubt that Cooper can cut it in the top-flight with us should promotion be secured this season, as the Argentine is believed to be planning on heavily utilising the £6.3million-rated defender next term.
Cooper may be the only one of our three most frequently utilised recognised centre-halves at the club next term, with Ben White only on loan from Brighton and Hove Albion while Gaetano Berardi is out of contract in the summer and yet to hold talks over a new deal.
Whether Cooper can cut it in the top-flight will remain to be seen until the first kick-off of the campaign is taken, but the Scot has proven himself as a reliable option more often than not in the Championship this term.
The 28-year-old has only committed one error that has led to a shot across his 30 second-tier outings, while Sofa Score data shows him as averaging 1.9 interceptions, 1.4 tackles, 3.3 clearances, 2.9 ground duels won (67%) and 4.4 aerial duels won (60%) each league game.
Can Cooper cut it in the Premier League?
Cooper has also helped toward 11 clean sheets, created two big chances to score and averaged 75.7 touches a game, with which he has played 52.1 accurate passes (82%) including 41.2 accurate passes in our defensive half (91%).
Only time will tell if Cooper can cut it in the top-flight, but at least Bielsa seems to have one piece of his defensive jigsaw in place ahead of what could be a substantial rebuild this summer.
In other Leeds United news, reports have detailed the club’s plans for a £15m transfer.