Its easy to imagine that the new year could not have come soon enough for fans of Leeds United whose roller coaster 2014 was defined by the arrival of notorious and eccentric new owner Massimo Cellino.Throughout the year Cellino proceeded to appoint and sack a series of managers as their team, somewhat unsurprisingly, struggled to gain any real momentum in The Championship. Perhaps most frustrating off all is that amongst the chaos their team have on occasion shown promise, particularly the youngsters who have recently graduated from the youth squad to the first team.
The most talked about of the youth team graduates is 17-year old midfielder Lewis Cook.
who has been garnering praise throughout the football community ever since his part in the victorious England U17‘s team that won the Uefa U17’s Championship last summer. Having now broken into the first team at Leeds (making over twenty appearances already this season) Cook is showing increasing levels of promise every week as he cements himself as a regular. A bastion of the midfield he plays with a composure far beyond his year’s particularly with his passing which is considered and mature, and his disciplined defensive positioning which often see’s him pouncing to intercept opposition passes in a decisive and predatory fashion.
Naturally, his international and domestic performances have brought him to the attention of many of The Premiership’s top clubs including Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal, who have all expressed an interest in the player. Yet Cook is said to be happy at Leeds, excited by his role in the first team and convinced that it will help him to develop his game – an assumption seemingly being proven right.
Considering their financial worries it may seem a good time for Leeds to cash in on the youngster, yet to his credit owner Massimo Cellini has said that he intends to do all he can to keep him at the club offering him a new contract rumored to be worth around £4,000 a week whilst also placing a £10m price tag on the player.
It is well documented that current Head Coach Neil Redfearn has been a key component in Cook’s uprising (as well as other youth academy graduates such as right-back Sam Byram, currently a target of Southampton Liverpool, and Leicester, and multi-faceted midfielder Alex Mowatt) and is thought to be fairly essential in both their development and retainment at the club. Having joined the youth setup in 2009 Redfearn possesses the intimate knowledge of their strengths and weaknesses and also the trust and confidence of the players. However, with Chairman Massimo Cellini notorious for his lack of patience with managers and his team currently lying at the foot of the Championship how long Redfearn will remain at the helm is uncertain.
Whatever the outcome it is in these players that Leeds United fans can perhaps begin to see some light at the end of a very long and dark tunnel and, if managed correctly, they may at least offer some more moments of relief at worst in the transfer market but preferably on the pitch.