Leeds United: Cook must keep his feet on the ground – Ritchie

Lewis Cook.
Lewis Cook.
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Lewis Cook has clearly become one of Leeds United’s most important players and it is critical for him, as the saying goes in golf, to ‘stay in the moment’ and not get ahead of himself. I don’t think he will.

In golfing terms, look at the young lad Matthew Fitzpatrick the other week. He could see he had a three-shot lead.

But crucially he still had to finish the job off and it is a similar situation with footballers, especially when they are young players.

They simply can’t let up because of what they have done.

If they don’t keep doing that and don’t improve on that, they won’t get there again with the likes of England as Lewis is doing.

The biggest thing for Lewis now is to keep his feet on the ground. That’s part of the manager’s job and he’s obviously had a great recent experience with England and it is obvious his Leeds performances have been taken notice of, which is a lot down to himself.

He’s got to realise that there is a pathway there. But it is only there if he continues to play the way he is and keep himself grounded and not get carried away.

The good thing is that the dreaded ‘second season syndrome’ is not affecting Lewis one bit and hopefully that bodes well that he wants to keep on that upward spiral.

The only way to do that is keep knuckling down and working hard and enjoying the moment he has had, but strive for more and say: ‘Well, I’ve got to be better to be there again and get there again and want to play for England.’

Looking at Lewis and when I was playing at Leeds, we had a similarly young and gifted midfielder called John Sheridan and I see similarities in terms of age and the way they both play.

No-one can deny that John didn’t knuckle down and keep his foot to the pedal.

He is very grounded and I am still good friends with John and no-one could ever accuse him of not giving his all.

He has never lost his roots and while he is Manchester born and bred and that’s not great for Leeds fans, he was a Leeds fan as well and wanted to play for the club and kept himself going and obviously achieved a lot with Ireland as well.

Lewis, like John did back in his day, is running the show for Leeds at the moment and is integral to the way they play. He just has to make sure he carries on in that vein.

There will be a lot of people watching him and he has to put that out of his mind as well and carry on doing that job in hand, which is getting points for Leeds, which they desperately need.

It is not going to be easier out there today as well against Brighton, who are the current Championship leaders.

Obviously, Stuart Dallas and Northern Ireland have qualified for the European finals and it’s a great story.

I watched Stuart play for Brentford a little bit and have seen him at Leeds and saw him on TV for Northern Ireland the other night and was very impressed.

He is another one who I feel if he really pushes himself and really goes for it, he could be a real handful. He already is, but I think he could get even better.

Plenty has been made in the past week of the appointment of Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool. I am absolutely delighted he’s here because I think he will be a breath of fresh air for the Premier League.

I think his press conferences are going to be absolutely awesome and I love the way he is.

I think he talks a lot of sense and he is very down to earth and we have seen all the pictures of his family and stuff. He likes to play the game with a smile on his face, but also he is clearly very serious as well.

That is a good balance and I would strive to do that in my managerial career if I could. I like to let the lads enjoy themselves, but when we get to work, it’s serious and we get down to it.