Lewis Cook: Playing in the Championship made me a man

Wednesday 02 Sep 2015
England Under-19s midfielder Lewis Cook
Having enjoyed an impressive breakthrough season in senior football, Lewis Cook is hoping to move up another level for club and country this season.

On the back of winning the European Championship with England Under-17s last summer, the youngster broke into the midfield at Leeds United and produced a series of impressive displays to win the Championship Young Player of the Year award.

He joined up with the U19s at the beginning of this week in high spirits after creating the chance for Chris Wood to score a late winner against Derby County on Saturday as the west Yorkshire outfit recorded their first three points of the season, and he is relishing the chance to pull on the Three Lions again.

England U19s' Euro trip

Germany v England
Friday 4 September 2015
BELKAW Arena, Bergisch Gladbach
Croatia v England
Monday 7 September 2015
Sveti Josip Radnik Stadion, Zagreb

“Four draws and a win sounds a lot better than four draws and a loss, so last Saturday was big for us. We've started the season quite well and the training has been really good and I'm enjoying it,” he told TheFA.com.

“I think it was 38 games I played in last season - it's mad when you think about it. I never thought I'd get that many games, but it was great for me and I felt I really came on.

“I think I've grown up a lot, especially in the Championship as it’s a proper man’s game there and really physical.

“I had to adapt to that quite quickly and I think that has put me in good stead for this year - hopefully I can really push on now.”

The 18-year-old also had a sample of playing a year up for his country last campaign. He was called into the squad for the Elite Round qualifiers in March, and although he picked up an injury, it was still an enjoyable time for the Tadcaster-born schemer.

“It was great to get that call for the higher age group. I really enjoyed it and got a good game in, it's a shame I got injured, but it was good to mix in with the lads.

“It was a good test and I was glad I could experience a bit of that.”

Lewis Cook with his Championship Apprentice of the Year award (photo by Football League)

Lewis Cook with his Championship Apprentice of the Year award (photo by Football League)

Cook is one of 14 members of Aidy Boothroyd’s squad to have tasted first-team football.

And with that experience within the group, he is confident they can hit the ground running this week with two positive results away to Germany and Croatia.

“It'll be tough, especially Germany. We've played them a few times before and they are a really good passing team. We look forward to tests like that though and I think it'll be really good for us.

“We have the qualifiers coming up so we will be using these games to make sure we are in the right shape for them.”

Lewis Cook in training at St. George's Park

He added: “Everyone is doing really well and the majority of the squad have played first-team football now.

“I think the Euros really helped a lot of us and it is going good. We now want to continue that with two solid games over the next week.”

Cook and his team-mates fly out to Bergisch Gladbach on Wednesday afternoon, where they will face Germany on Friday 4 September.

From there, it is on to Zagreb where Croatia will play host to the second game of the trip at the Sveti Josip Radnik Stadion on Monday 7 September.

By Gary Stonehouse Staff Writer At St. George's Park