United defender eager for pre-season with Garry Monk to begin...
Liam Cooper has spoken of his excitement at working under Garry Monk following their first meeting and believes he can benefit from the defensive know-how of the new boss.
Cooper, who admits to being “buzzing” with Monk’s appointment earlier this month, briefly met United’s new head coach for the first time at Thorp Arch last week.
“We’ve had a quick word and he seems brilliant,” the 24-year-old said. “He’s told me what he’s going to demand and we’ve got to be ready for that.
“Nothing is a given in this game and we know that. The higher the standards we set, it’s only going to benefit ourselves, the team and the club.”
During a 19-year playing career as a centre-back, Monk rose through all four of English football’s professional divisions before taking a successful leap into management with Swansea City in February 2014.
Cooper, who arrived at Elland Road from Chesterfield two summers ago, has also played in all four tiers but knows his career is still in its infancy and hopes Monk’s vast experience can help to develop his own game as a defender.
“I was buzzing, personally, when I found out,” he said. “He (Monk) was a centre-half and he likes to play football, so I think I’m going to learn a lot from the manager.
“I can’t wait to get going and start building relationships with the staff.
“His experience speaks volumes. He’s a great guy for the job and I’m absolutely over the moon.
“He told me he’s buzzing to get going with the young players. He wants to forward our careers, like we all do – we all want to play in the Premier League.
“Hopefully we can do that - we’re going to have a right good go at it.
“I just can’t wait to get going. I’m buzzing with the appointment and looking forward to it all starting. From speaking to a few of the boys, they can’t wait to get started as well.”
Cooper is now eager to return for pre-season training under Monk later this month, but the defender has already started what he describes as a “pre-pre-season” in a bid to ensure he’s in the best shape possible for when the hard work recommences.
“I took three weeks off but I’ve had a couple of days back in the gym,” he explained. “We came into Thorp Arch for a photoshoot and decided to make a session of it.
“Me, Murph and Sol (Bamba) are going to go out and do a bit with Sean (Rush, Head of Conditioning). It’s a pre-pre-season.
“You’ve got to get out and make sure you’re not stiff when we get back because it’s going to be hard work.
“I’ve been guilty of doing nothing before and there’s nothing worse – you only harm yourself and you end up way behind.
“I’ve had a word with the manager and the standard is going to be high.
“He’s going to demand a lot from the players and we’re going to demand a lot from each other. I think it’s going to be very good.”