Amidst the chaos of Leeds’ turbulent season on and off-the-pitch has emerged a young diamond of a 17-year-old who looks set for a big future. Fans should not expect Lewis Cook to be the saviour of a club struggling near the Championship relegation zone and in continuous ownership limbo, but the highly-talented midfielder has already shown signs that he could be the next best thing to emerge from the ever-producing youth academy. His integration into the first team may have been one of few highlights from David Hockaday’s short stay at Elland Road, but Cook is now under the guidance of former academy coach Neil Redfearn who knows just how good the graduate is. Although Cook is in the middle of his first professional season at Leeds, Premier League clubs have already begun showing strong interest in a player who has been given a £10 million price tag by Massimo Cellino. Keeping Cook would undoubtedly improve Leeds’ chances of Championship survival, and with the club offering the highly-rated star a new contract, fans may be able to see Cook develop in the famous white shirt.

Memorable year

Born in York, the talented central midfielder has been earning rave reviews in recent years at the Leeds academy and at England youth level where he has featured for the Under 16’s, 17’s and 18’s. Redfearn was well aware of the ability Cook possessed during his time working with the academy, and made it his duty to ensure that he harnessed his wonderful talent to benefit Leeds in the future. It is this dedication that helped Cook to enjoy a wonderful breakthrough year in 2014, which all started with a starring role in England Under 17’s triumphant UEFA European Championship campaign. Cook’s performances brought him to the attention of observers who had no doubt that Leeds had a potential star in their hands, leading fans to call for the 17-year-old to be considered for first team action at Elland Road. Hockaday duly delivered by giving Cook his full professional debut as a 67th minute substitute in the 2014/2015 opening day fixture against Millwall. He has since gone on to make 21 starts, with Cook becoming an instant fans favourite for showing maturity well beyond his tender years and putting in high quality performances for the cause despite the turmoil at the club.

Can Leeds keep hold of him?

Possessing excellent passing and tackling skills, along with the ability to read the game and keep possession, illustrates just how good Lewis Cook is despite being only 17 years old. His superb performance against Bournemouth in the vital 1-0 victory further illustrated his incredible potential, but there is already growing concerns that Cook may be sold to any Premier League team who are willing to pay big money for his services. The likes of Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester United have already shown interest in the wonderkid, but Cellino is desperate for Cook to stay and joins fans in hoping that he signs the contract put forward to him. It could be argued that staying at Leeds is undoubtedly the best option so early into Cook’s professional career, considering he is benefiting enormously from first team football and is playing under a manager who can get the very best from him. It remains to be seen whether any major clubs make a move for the hugely promising teenager during the January transfer window, but every Leeds fan will unite in crossing their fingers in hope that Cook will remain a White for many years to come.

  • Rothwell Roger

    he needs another couple of seasons with us before he even considers moving on. Sometime the second season is harder for a young player. Having said that he looks a fantastic prospect who should move onwards and upwards like Milner pity we will not see his full maturity.

  • Ray

    Genuinely best 17 year old I have seen in my lifetime (I am 54 year old) not being biased here, he is better than Rooney was at 17. This kid will play at the very highest level …..just hope he makes his name with us for a couple of seasons at least. Cmon Leeds!!! Beat the Udders, can’t wait for Saturday

  • paul warrick

    I believe we have just one more season with him unless we at least make the play offs in 2015-16. Lewis Cook will go on to much bigger and better things simply because of his prestigious talent. For now he is better off playing week in week out at lufc but his ambition is far greater than mid table in the championship. No Leeds fan wants to hear it but we do need to meet his expectations or he will go where his talent deserves to be, in The Premier League. His heart may be here but we have to face facts, within a year he will be too good for The Championship. Will Cellino pay him the £40k+ per week, no chance. Will we meet his ambition, I truly hope so. Time will tell but if we don’t make play offs next season he will go & to be honest who could blame him.

    • PMH

      Agreed.

  • Tim

    I am sure he will sign a new contract but all that does is get Leeds a better fee as if a player wants to leave he will leave. As good as he is he is there is still much to learn in finding that final killer pass and scoring some goals himself. I fully expect he will be with us in the Premiership

  • ArthurDaley

    Let the lad go. He is wasted at a club like Leeds who seem to be providing neutrals with continuous entertainment on and off the field. Ridsdale, Batesy,Gfh, now Cellino. Not so mighty these days and if Football League do a little bit of points deduction for the next discrepancies. Well it is amusing to us neutrals but must be torture for you lot. A once mighty and may I say begrudgingly entertaining side who have become a laughing stock. Going down and where will it stop. Get it sorted Leeds we want to be beating you again in Premier division not watching you struggle in Conference. By the way I hope we do sign this lad Cook from you, looks promising :-)

    • henrymouni

      We are in the state we are in because we keep selling our best players Arthur.
      How can any team be successful they sell their gems and replace them with
      average players?
      It should never be amusing to make fun of anyone who is struggling!
      Who do you support?

  • Gustavo Alvarez

    I will not sell Lewis for less than 20million… yes, right now his value is less than that amount, but his potential made that amount a bargain…

    and this price tag will vanish the interest from small premiership clubs –> more stability for the kid, the club and the fans

  • Lars

    I think we’ll be able to keep him as well as the other academy players as long as Redders is the gaffer(unless an outrageous Luke Shaw size bid comes in). They all came into their own under him and you can see they work their socks off for him and there’s a heavy sense of loyalty to him that no other “head coach” would be able to command.

  • PMH

    Let’s not kid ourselves here. A local lad likes to play for his local team, but he is not going to sacrifice his career for sentiment. If it is to his benefit to move then he will move. Right now, Lewis Cook is better off playing first team football in the Championship, with a big club and passionate fans. The alternative would be to be sitting on the bench for Arsenal etc. In a year or two he will be eager to play with the big boys, and willing to take a chance. For Leeds, unless promotion is in the cards, Lewis Cook is a temporary employee. Pretty soon he will want to move up and the money offer will be too much for the club to resist. So, enjoy him while you can.

  • Irving08

    More pressing is whether selling Pearce (a) at all, and (b) to Wigan makes sense. My view Iis that it makes sense on neither of these two counts. Who do we think we are – a Premier League club or even presently challenging to be such ? Avoiding the drop is our priority and, in this particular struggle, I’d prefer to have Pearce on my side than Wooton and Bellusci. I have no idea if Bamby is u p to snuff, but I wouldn’t be gambling on it now. I know Pearce’s strengths and weaknesses.

    • henrymouni

      It is odd Irv!
      We are supposed to be in a good financial situation now, yet we are still shedding senior (high wage earners) at a crucial time.
      Redders keeps talking about players coming in – Winger & striker, but we have done nothing for the first 3 weeks of the window, which closes in 1.5 days. No sign of a striker or a winger.
      The new lads are not match fit, and have hardly played this season.
      Seems foolhardy to say the least.
      Oh yes – this is Leeds United!!