Leeds United

7/7 defensive duels: Have Leeds United finally unearthed Liam Cooper’s natural successor?

Image for 7/7 defensive duels: Have Leeds United finally unearthed Liam Cooper’s natural successor?

Max Wober produced a mature and encouraging display for Leeds United in their goalless draw with Brentford in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon.

Leeds fans have had years of anxiety about how their defence holds together without Liam Cooper’s leadership, yet at Elland Road over the weekend, Wober stepped into the captain’s shoes, brought out the best in Robin Koch and helped deal with Ivan Toney’s awkward presence.

Initially it seemed that Wober would be playing at left-back, with Pascal Struijk in a more familiar central role. Yet, Marsch went the other way, with his January recruit at the heart of the defensive unit, underlining his own leadership credentials with a commanding performance you could pick apart from the terrace.

The basic communication was there that is so often missing when Cooper doesn’t play and Jesse Marsch’s decision to turn to him over Struijk at centre-back was justified over 90 solid minutes.

As per Wyscout, completed 74% of his total actions successfully and was excellent from a defensive point of view, winning 100% of his duels (7/7) and showcasing expert timings when it came to tackling, stepping out and dropping in.

Over the game, the 24-year-old completed four interceptions and 16 recoveries, four of which were in the Brentford half. He didn’t commit a single foul and was about as disciplined as you could be.

Impressively, Wober didn’t attempt a single backwards pass in the game, looking to be progressive accruing his pass success of 79%, stepping out onto the ball and getting Leeds to play in areas of the pitch where they could attempt to hurt Brentford.

At this moment in time, Leeds haven’t conceded a goal in the 224 minutes he’s played in all competitions.

The big updated Max Wöber quiz – How well do you know Leeds United’s January recruit?

1 of 18

Which club did Leeds sign Wöber from?

The numbers that stack up are impressive, yet we go back to that on-the-eye leadership that you could see in the ground: Wober talking to his teammates, pulling them into place and organising a strictly straight backline. They are all really basic things, but traits other personnel in Leeds’ defensive setup don’t have. Stuff a captain does.

Cooper is cut from a similar cloth, but at 31-years-old now, is naturally reaching the twilight of his career. Wober, at 24, is already looking like a natural evolution within this squad.

Is Maximilian Wöber a good signing?





Share this article

Leeds United Season Ticket Holder at Elland Road for over 20 seasons. Currently nestled in N12, but occasionally offering views from the press box. We’ve been through it all together? You bet.