Leeds United midfielder Lewis Cook has revealed he believes his experiences with the England under-17 side led to his inclusion in the Leeds United first team.
The teenager has become a key part of the Leeds midfield, with the side heading in the right direction following the David Hockaday era and the interim spell of Neil Redfearn in charge of the side.
Cook has suggested that without England winning the under-17 European Championship final against the Netherlands, he may not be in the first team setup.
“I think that tournament helped me to be recognised. It was a great experience for me and an unbelievable feeling. I also think it gave me a lot more confidence and put me in the manager’s eye,” he said in an interview with the Yorkshire Evening Post.
“I’d never been to a tournament like that and won it before. Things were pretty mad. But I really enjoyed it and want to build on it. I’d known the England lads for a long time and we had some great banter. I felt comfortable with the set-up.”
Cook has made three starts and three appearances off the bench for Leeds so far this season and feels that, despite tasting first team experience, he’s still got a long way to go before he can consider himself an established member of the team.
“I wouldn’t say I am established, no - I do want to be playing week in, week out, that’s my overall goal, and hopefully I’ll feel like that one day. But definitely not at the moment.”
Credit has to go to Neil Redfearn and former boss David Hockaday for getting him involved in the first team, which has given him a chance to show off his talent and continue his development.
Fingers crossed that the next permanent manager, most likely Darko Milanic, won’t exclude him back into the youth team ranks, which threatens to destabilise the progress he’s made up to this point.
That’s always a worry considering his age, 17-years-old, and the pressure on the new manager coming in to get instant results as Leeds look to get back into the Premier League.
Cook is a remarkable talent to be playing regularly at his age in one of the most competitive divisions around Europe. If Leeds do manage to get back into the top flight, Cook has a great chance to develop further still on the biggest platform of all.