Leeds United star Alex Mowatt says he has Dave Hockaday to thank for unintentionally motivating him.
Alex Mowatt has told the Yorkshire Evening Post that Dave Hockaday leaving him out of the Leeds United side at the start of the season acted as an inspiration for him.
The midfielder was called into the squad when the head coach was fired after three Championship games, with Neil Redfearn, stepping up from his academy role to caretaker boss.
Mowatt impressed instantly, keeping his place when Darko Milanic was appointed, and then when Redfearn was made head coach after the Slovenian was also fired.
He is currently the club's second highest goalscorer with nine goals, behind Mirco Antenucci on 10, but could yet reach double figures if he can net in the final game of the season against Rotherham United.
Mowatt said: "You’d have to ask him (Hockaday) about it. But in a way it helped because it motivated me to train harder and get back in the team. I wasn’t taking anything for granted."
The midfielder played a key role in Leeds' winning run earlier in 2015, scoring winners, and establishing his credentials as a set piece specialist.
His form has seen him called up for England's under-20 team, and Premier League clubs interested, with The Mirror reporting last month Hull City were considering a £7 million offer, but he is keen to stay at Leeds.
He added: "It’s got to be good if the players who are coming through are staying at Leeds and playing for Leeds. It would show that Leeds aren’t just a selling club."
Dave Hockaday is currently working as a professional development coach at League One side Coventry City.