Leeds United: Cook not named in England U19s starting line up

Lewis Cook in action against Wigan Athletic.

Lewis Cook in action against Wigan Athletic.

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LEEDS UNITED midfield star Lewis Cook has not been named in the starting line-up by England U19s coach Sean O’Driscoll for today’s European U19s Championship Elite Round opener against Denmark at the Stade Henry Jeanne in the French town of Bayeux (5pm).

Cook, who turned 18 in February and who helped England U17s to European Championships glory in Malta last May, recently received his first U19 call-up.

Head coach Neil Redfearn has been anxious that England bosses managed the workload of York-born Cook, a mainstay of Leeds’ midfield this term having made 38 appearances, and they appear to have acceded to his wishes.

Cook, who has spectacularly emerged on the scene for Leeds this season, headed into the international break on the back of three games in a week, including ninety minutes on a desperately poor playing surface at Blackpool.

England U19s are also in action in Bayeux on Saturday against Azerbaijan (5.30pm) and take on France at the Stade Louis Villemer, Saint-Lo on Tuesday (6pm).

England’s prize for coming out top after three matches will be a place at the European Championships in Greece this July.

O’Driscoll sees no reason why England cannot win all three matches and qualify in style and believes that the riches at his disposal, including the likes of Cook, are plentiful with his group also a well grounded bunch of individuals.

O’Driscoll said: “If you look at each of the boys in the squad they are all developing nicely and that is a credit to the clubs.

“They are all talented players but they know that talent alone will get you nowhere. And they have all applied themselves correctly.

“They have all got their feet on the ground, which is credit to the clubs as well.

“Our job is to give them that international experience and try and put them in a position where they feel they can do well.

“We want them to enjoy international football as well as try and win something.

“We’ve got players here in the first team at their clubs, in FA Youth Cup Semi-Finals and Finals, some have been in Champions League squads, some of their clubs are at the top of their respective league, so they are picking up some good experience.

“We’ve been trying to get everyone on an even keel and we’ve asked them to think about where playing for England fits into it all. We want to add value to their career.”

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