Cook v Hughes - which young midfielder came out on top as Leeds beat Derby?

Will Hughes of Derby County

Lewis Cook and Will Hughes went up against each other in midfield on Saturday.

Hughes V Cook

 

Leeds United ran out as 2-0 winners over rivals Derby County on Saturday, with two goals from Mirco Antenucci giving Neil Redfearn's men all three points.

Leeds fans were full of praise for Antenucci and stand-in captain Stephen Warnock, but it was teenager Lewis Cook who stole most of the headlines.

Starting in midfield alongside 19-year-old Alex Mowatt, Cook impressed Leeds fans with his display, suggesting that he dominated Derby's Will Hughes, who has been linked with moves to all of England's top clubs.

Cook, 17, has been handed an opportunity by Redfearn, and has seized with both hands with his performance against Derby - but what did the stats say about his matchup with Hughes?

Per Opta Stats, we see that Hughes attempted more passes and completed more, with a higher pass completion % than Cook, whilst he also won far more tackles and got on the ball more.

However, the area of the game where Cook excelled was breaking up attacks, and with six interceptions to Hughes' three, he demonstrated why some fans are likening him to the next David Batty.

The stats do suggest that this particular battle was closer than first thought, whilst it's also important to note that although Hughes is just two years older than Cook, he has already racked up over 100 appearances for Derby.

His ability on the ball has never been in question, whilst the high tackling stats will be a boost for Rams boss Steve McClaren at this young stage in his career.

Cook won in just one area, but it was a vitally important one, and Redfearn must know that he has a star in the making in Cook, who will no doubt become more confident as a passer in years to come.

Whilst it was an intriguing battle with both players showing their impressive skillsets, it's maybe more interesting to note that both of these players have big futures with England.

Cook, and England Under-17 international and Hughes, a key player in Gareth Southgate's Under-21 side, figure to be stars in the coming years, and could even end up playing together for the senior side in the future.

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