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Leeds United defender Liam Cooper has been in fine form this season, and as a result, has featured for Scotland for the first time during the international break.
However, Scotland fared poorly during their Euro 2020 campaign and lost both their games against Russia and Belgium. Cooper made his debut for Scotland during the international games, and the centre-back struggled badly as Steve Clarke’s side were beaten 2-1 by Russia and then 4-0 by Belgium.
Cooper has come under criticism from fans following his performances for Scotland, but BBC pundit Gary Naysmith has defended him strongly saying the defender has been put in a difficult situation in regards to his call-up to the national squad.
Former Scotland international Naysmith defended Cooper by saying it is not easy to make the step up from the Championship to international football.
“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.”
Scotland were out of their depth during the international games, and it was unfair to make Cooper the scapegoat. The Leeds defender will hope that he gets to impress Steve Clarke again in the coming matches.
Cooper has been excellent for Leeds this season, and he is vital for Marcelo Bielsa’s side. Leeds, currently third in the Championship table, are aiming for promotion this season. The Whites will face Barnsley in their next game.