Leeds United: Mowatt in the frame for top award

Alex Mowatt.
Alex Mowatt.
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Leeds united midfielder Alex Mowatt has been shortlisted for the Championship’s player-of-the-month award after a run of form which head coach Neil Redfearn described as “the best he’s shown.”

The talented 19-year-old is one of four players in contention for the Football League’s November award, the first time he has been nominated since his making his senior debut for Leeds 16 months ago.

Mowatt caught the eye with three goals and two assists as United took seven points from games against Cardiff City, Charlton Athletic, Blackpool, Blackburn Rovers and Derby County.

Redfearn singled out his performance in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Championship leaders Derby, calling Mowatt a “top young player”, and United’s former academy boss said the midfielder had matured rapidly since the start of this season.

“He deserves the nomination and his performances have been some of the best he’s shown,” Redfearn said.

“He starting to look like the major talent he is.

“He did really well last season, no doubt about that, but the difference now is that he’s started seeing himself as a proper first-team player.

“He feels like he should be in the team and that’s allowing him to relax and play to his potential.

“People are obviously starting to recognise his performances which is why he’s in for this award but there’s more come from him.

“His full potential could take him a long, long way.”

The Football League will announce the winner of their November award tomorrow. Mowatt has been shortlisted alongside Birmingham City goalkeeper Darren Randolph, Brentford forward Andre Gray and Blackburn Rovers striker Rudy Gestede.

His impressive form this season came in spite of low-key start in which Mowatt suffered from injury and was repeatedly overlooked by former Leeds head coach David Hockaday.

He did not make a first-team appearance until the final weekend of August but he has been almost ever-present since Hockaday’s dismissal, scoring four times including two fine 20-yard strikes in a 2-2 draw with Charlton.

Redfearn said: “It’s been quite a tough season for the players, pretty up and down, but we’re in a much better patch of form at the moment and Alex is one of the reasons for that.

“It probably helps the likes of him to have other young lads around him.

“We’ve got a team with an average age of 23 and Alex is in amongst Lewis Cook, Sam Byram and a couple of others.

“He’s no reason to feel isolated or to doubt himself and to be fair to the more experienced players, they’ve been really supportive too.

“They’re all making it clear that these kids are playing because they deserve to play, not for any other reason.”

Mowatt has already been capped by England at Under-19 level and he was called up to the England Under-20 squad for games against Canada and Portugal last month. He missed those matches after Redfearn moved to withdraw him from international duty and protect his fitness.

Leeds boss Thomas Christiansen ponders his next move in the 1-0 defeat to Reading on Saturday.  Picture: Tony Johnson.

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