Ian Harte has told FourFourTwo that Leeds United have missed Liam Cooper this season and thinks the centre-back’s communication is crucial in helping Leeds on the pitch – with some players unable to deal with the pressure.

Cooper, 31, has managed just 18 outings for Leeds this season due to injury. The captain has suffered a number of niggling injuries. He returned to the bench on Sunday against West Ham but is yet to play under Sam Allardyce.

It remains to be seen if the Scotland star will be thrown back into the starting line-up when Leeds take on the likes of Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and the rest of Tottenham’s star-studded squad. Leeds have got to secure a win.

Failure to do so, and Everton or Leicester will survive. Even if Leeds do win, they have to rely on Everton suffering defeat and Leicester failing to win. Ex-Leeds man Harte says his old side have missed £35,000-a-week Cooper.

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“Cooper has been massively missed. Certain players can’t deal with pressure, especially at Elland Road. Leeds fans are the best in the world. They voice their opinion if things aren’t right. Certain players have gone into their shells.”

Ian Harte says Leeds have missed Liam Cooper this season on the pitch

It is a damning take on Leeds, in the sense that a player that has been at the club since 2014 is still considered one of the most-important players in the team. It is a massive sign that the Leeds board have got their signings wrong.

Of course, that is easy to say with hindsight and injured players often become a lot better than they actually are when a team is struggling – but they aren’t playing. But, having Cooper in the side remains crucial for the Whites.

AFC Bournemouth v Leeds United - Premier League
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