Eddie Gray warns Leeds that to keep Lewis Cook they must show Premier League ambition

Elland Road East Stand

The 19-year-old was recently awarded the Football League Young Player of the Year.

Eddie Gray has warned Leeds United that they will need to start showing their ambition if they want to keep Lewis Cook for the long-term, the Yorkshire Evening Post reports.

The talented midfielder was recognised for his performances this season by being recently awarded the prize of Football League Young Player of the Year.

And with the award previously being given to the likes of Gareth Bale, Dele Alli and fellow Whites academy graduate Fabian Delph, Gray believes that the recognition will force the club to prove to the 19-year-old that they have the intention to get back into the Premier League as soon as possible, otherwise the youngster will be heading to the top flight on his own.

"The club's biggest problem now is going to be holding onto the boy," he told the Yorkshire Evening Post.

"Other clubs know about him already and the young-player-of-the-year award is going to attract clubs with money. It sets the bar higher for him as well. It'll make him realise what he can achieve. He won't achieve what he wants to by being in the Championship for another five years. The club, the owner, have got to show him some ambition by getting a plan together and getting some quality players in.

"They've got to make him think he's part of something successful here. Everyone goes on about loyalty in football but to me, first and foremost, your loyalty's to your ability."

One of the attributes that perhaps United need to target to strengthen any promotion ambitions is stability. During Massimo Cellino's tenure as owner, the club have gone through several head coaches, and now speculation is rife that current boss Steve Evans' job is under severe scrutiny (via Telegraph).

Another new appointment may force the new head coach to take time to work on putting the foundations in place to try and make the club a long-term success, as the previous bosses have also done. But if they are unable to deliver almost immediately, the cycle will surely just repeat itself once again.

That stability will surely make building the consistency needed for a promotion push much easier, and may convince Cook that the Whites are at least on the right path in their mission to getting back into the top flight.

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