Defender honoured to wear the captain's armband at Sunderland...
Defender Liam Cooper described captaining United as a "dream come true" after being given the armband for Sunday’s FA Cup tie at Sunderland.
Cooper led Neil Redfearn’s side out at the Stadium of Light following injury to regular skipper Stephen Warnock, and the 23-year-old spoke of his pride at being given the responsibility.
"It’s a dream come true to captain a club like Leeds United," it’s brilliant, said Cooper.
"It’s good to be thought of in a high regard like that. I had a great day and I enjoyed being captain.
"I found out when the team sheet went up in the morning. I saw the ‘c’ next to my name.
"But I’ll always go out there and give 100 per cent and hopefully that can rub off on a few players if I’m leading as well."
Asked if he sees himself as a leader on the pitch, Cooper replied: "I’d like to think so.
"I’ve got plenty more learning to do in the game but I’m getting that with each and every game I’m playing. It’s a great experience and long may it continue."
Head coach Redfearn also hailed Cooper’s influence on the pitch and says it was a simple decision to hand him the armband at Sunderland.
"I thought Cooper was outstanding, he’s a leader naturally," said Redfearn.
"He’s got this way about him, he’s got presence and he affects the young players and those around him."
Despite a much-improved United performance after the break, a first-half strike from Patrick van Aanholt proved to be the difference and enough for the Premier League side to secure their progression to the Fourth Round.
Cooper came agonisingly close to forcing an Elland Road replay, clipping the post with a towering stoppage-time header which the defender feels is indicative of United’s fortunes being out.
"I think the ball was always going away from the goal. I think it’s just one of those things at the minute," he said.
"Theirs hit the post and went in, ours hit the post and went out.
"But I’m a big believer of earning your own luck in this game and I think a good performance like that will certainly put us on track.
"We came here and made a good account of ourselves. It was good for some of the lads to get some game time which they haven’t been getting.
"I thought everybody stood up to the task. We put a good display on, we just couldn’t get the right result."
Cooper now hopes the encouraging second-half display can be a platform to build on and believes Redfearn will be given food for thought after making seven changes to his side.
"We know ourselves we’re under a bit of pressure at the minute, we need to start getting some results together," he said.
"We’re not going to get that by moping around. We’ve got to get around each other, get everybody up and we’ll definitely be doing that in the next week.
"Everyone stepped in and did a great job on Sunday. I think it’ll give the manager a bit of a headache with his team selection next week."