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.