'We can beat anybody in the league' - Leeds United defender's defiant cry ahead of meeting with Tottenham Hotspur and Harry Kane

Leeds United captain Liam Cooper speaks exclusively to the Yorkshire Evening Post to preview a battle with Tottenham Hotspur and Harry Kane.

Saturday, 20th November 2021, 11:44 am

Liam Cooper can’t wait to test himself against Harry Kane for a second time.

The Leeds United captain has faced the England skipper just once before in his career, almost a decade ago.

Cooper was a 20-year-old Hull City centre-half and Kane was an 18-year-old striker, on loan at Millwall from Spurs. The Lions beat the Tigers 2-0 at the Den, Kane heading home the sixth goal of his loan spell before missing a good chance from a few yards out and seeing another header cleared off the line.

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Cooper knows the centre forward he will encounter at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium tomorrow is an even more dangerous animal than the one he faced in April 2012.

But he too has changed and improved – his experience of playing against a host of very good strikers in the Championship and those in the elite category in the top flight has played a big part in that. And he’s eager to do battle with one of the very best.

“Kane’s just scored seven in two games, eh?” laughed the 30-year-old.

“I played against him in the Championship when I was a bit younger, when he played for Millwall but not since he’s reached the heights he has. We all know he’s a finisher, he’s probably one of the best strikers in the world right now, playing in a very good team. I’m looking forward to testing myself against him and hopefully I can come out on top.”

DIFFERENT ANIMAL - Liam Cooper and Harry Kane have both developed since their first meeting almost a decade ago. They battle again when Leeds United visit Spurs on Sunday. Pic: Getty

Cooper did not feature in either of Leeds’ fixtures against Spurs in the club’s first season back in the top flight for 16 years. For January’s clash he was struggling with an abdominal injury and in May he sat out with a glute issue.

Sunday’s game is not only a special one because of the quality of the opposition and the surroundings in which it will take place, it’s one Leeds believe they can win. Memories of last season’s victories over Manchester City and Spurs themselves underpin that belief.

“You want to go and test yourself against the best teams, in the best stadiums, in the best league in the world,” he said.

“We’re getting to do all of that.

“We believe, we have a belief in the dressing room that if we can get 14 players 100 per cent at it, we can beat anybody in the league. We’ve proved that, we’ve beaten big teams and taken a lot of confidence from that. If we do what’s asked of us and don’t make mistakes, we can beat anyone in the league.”