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Leeds United: Mowatt in line for a new deal

RISING STAR: Midfielder Alex Mowatt looks likely to be offered a longer-term contract with Leeds United after quickly making a name for himself at Elland Road.

RISING STAR: Midfielder Alex Mowatt looks likely to be offered a longer-term contract with Leeds United after quickly making a name for himself at Elland Road.

Leeds United look set to open contract talks with teenage star Alex Mowatt in an effort to ensure a long-term future for the midfielder at Elland Road.

The Championship club are poised to respond to Mowatt’s sudden rise by offering to improve the two-year deal signed by him last season.

Mowatt turned professional in March, accepting a senior contract after a strong campaign with United’s Under-18s, and he has come to the fore at Leeds with a series of recent first-team appearances.

The 18-year-old made his competitive debut in August and has started United’s last three league games, earning plaudits from his team-mates and first-team manager Brian McDermott.

McDermott said: “You’re constantly monitoring players’ contracts.

“Alex has got a year-and-a-half to go here but he’s done extremely well so we need to speak to him and his people.

“Everyone knows what I think of him and how well he’s done. He’s got real ability.”

Mowatt has become a fixture in McDermott’s team at a difficult time for Leeds.

His debut came in a League Cup win at Doncaster Rovers but he was handed his first league appearance during an unforgiving defeat at Millwall and also completed 90 minutes on a disappointing day at Derby County prior to the international break.

But McDermott absolved him of blame for the loss at Pride Park and championed Mowatt’s ability after the midfielder shone in a 2-1 win over Bournemouth on the first day of this month.

“You can see the respect the players have got for him,” McDermott said.

“They keep wanting to give him the ball and the fans want to see him on the ball. That’s a really good sign.”

McDermott is likely to rethink his approach for Sunday’s meeting with Birmingham City after his side’s recent capitulation at Derby but Mowatt is expected to remain in the centre of midfield.

Mowatt has adapted quickly to the gulf between youth-team football and the Championship and Leeds’ former Under-18s captain said: “It’s hard and it’s a lot different but I’ve been playing all right lately.

“We haven’t got the results and when the results get better it’ll get easier for me too.”

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