Liam Cooper may not have gone into the international break off the back of his best performance of the season for Leeds. But it still seemed to be a bizarre move from Alex McLeish to not call him into the Scotland squad for their games with Israel and Portugal.
Cooper has been a key man for Marcelo Bielsa’s side. He has led the Whites to third place in the Championship. The skipper’s improvement has still been remarkable despite his partners often overshadowing him.
But McLeish’s almost baffling decision has since become much more difficult to fathom.
After the defeat to Israel earlier this week, three of Scotland’s defensive options withdrew ahead of the game with Portugal. And yet, Cooper was still not amongst those to receive a call-up.
Blessing in disguise?
Our captain probably has every right to feel aggrieved about his absence from the squad. But selfishly, Leeds should be delighted that the defender has had the chance to take things easy during the break.
Our centre-back depth has been put to the test already this season. So the last thing Bielsa needed was for one of his key men to have two appearances for his country added to his workload.
Cooper will hopefully go into the Blackburn game next Saturday feeling fresh. And that could make a huge difference with Pontus Jansson now away with Sweden and Gaetano Berardi just coming back following a lengthy absence.
McLeish’s decision to leave Cooper out appears to make little sense. But Leeds should probably be grateful.