Leeds United: Goal hero Mowatt is glad to be in favour

Alex Mowatt takes on Birmingham's David Davis.
Alex Mowatt takes on Birmingham's David Davis.
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Alex Mowatt spoke of his satisfaction at being back in the fold at Leeds United and promised to deliver more goals after earning the club’s first away point of the season.

The 19-year-old secured a 1-1 draw at Birmingham City on Saturday and said he would put pressure on himself to weigh in with a meaningful tally after scoring only once for Leeds last term.

Mowatt broke through from United’s academy a year ago and made 31 appearances during his maiden campaign as a first-team regular but he admitted a solitary strike against Huddersfield Town in February was “disappointing for a player like me.”

“I always scored goals for the Under-18s so one a season isn’t good enough,” Mowatt said. “If I’m in the team then I feel like I should be chipping in with a few so that’s something I’m aiming for.

“If I’m scoring it takes pressure off other people and you always hear it said that you need goals across the team. Obviously my first aim is to be in the team but if I’m chosen, I want to make an impact.”

Mowatt claimed a draw in the 76th minute at St Andrews on Saturday, tucking home a difficult chance as Leeds pushed the pace and fought for a point.

United fell behind to a first-half effort from Wesley Thomas and created few chances of note before the break, but Mowatt’s reply left City hanging on as a low-key contest came to life towards the end.

“I didn’t really have time to think about the chance,” Mowatt said. “It just came out to me and the first thing I did was get it onto my left foot. There was nothing else on in the box so I thought ‘put it away.’

“It was an open game but in the first half we didn’t control the game. It was end-to-end and most of our possession was in our own half. But we got better and we got stronger and we should have won it.”

Mowatt dedicated his goal to his late grandfather, who passed away recently. “That was for him,” the midfielder said. “The goal and the celebration was for him. He’d have liked that.”

United’s former Under-18s captain is one of several homegrown players in the first-team squad at Elland Road and his emergence from the academy was an encouraging development in a difficult year for the club last season.

Mowatt made his debut last August and secured a new three-year contract before Christmas after establishing himself as a fixture in the club’s starting line-up.

He was injured at St Andrews on the penultimate weekend of last season, however, and missed Leeds’ pre-season tour of Italy through injury. On his return, Mowatt found himself on the fringes of the plans of former head coach David Hockaday and failed to feature in the first six games of this campaign.

But Hockaday’s sacking on August 28 saw academy manager Neil Redfearn take temporary control and Mowatt started in a 1-0 win over Bolton Wanderers before the international break.

He completed 90 minutes away to Birmingham on Saturday, playing in a midfield which again included 17-year-old Lewis Cook.

“Since Redders has been involved I’ve been back in the team but also back in and around the squad,” Mowatt said. “I’m pleased about that because I came through and played a lot of games last season, and I want to keep improving and moving forward.

“I did have a few injuries but the new gaffer (Hockaday) came in and I don’t think I really had a place in his plans. He had a big squad and I’m not sure I was his type of player. I mustn’t have been his type of player. But that’s just football and things change.

“I’ve worked with Redders since I was in the Under-16s so I know him well, he knows me well and he knows what he’s going to get from me. I’d give anyone 100 per cent but especially him.”

PERFECT RESPONSE: From Leeds United captain Liam Cooper, pictured right, celebrating the only goal of the game with Gjanni Alioski, centre, and Gaetano Berardi.

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