Leeds United: Youngsters still have a bit to prove – Gray

Alex Mowatt.
Alex Mowatt.
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THERE’S been a lot of talk about young Lewis Cook and Alex Mowatt this week and the future is looking good for them.

But they’ve got to keep progressing – that’s the thing about football.

Once you break into the side, there’s a lot of limelight on you and you’ve got to keep going and keep working hard – but I think the boys are doing that.

They’ve grown up with Neil Redfearn so they’ll have been well taught and well drilled on what it takes to become a player.

And it’s not just about having ability because you’ve got to work hard at your game, you’ve got to train hard, you’ve got to listen to people and you’ve got to continually improve.

But the two boys have done exceptionally well, so far.

Lewis Cook is obviously a bit younger and he’s done terrific while Alex in the last month or so, has really blossomed.

He’s scoring goals, he looks as if he’s capable of doing that from the midfield area and that’s important if you’re going to be a top midfield player, especially one whose game involves him getting forward.

You’ve got to chip in with your share of goals and the boy looks as if he can do that.

They both missed out on playing for England’s youth sides this week, though, and in terms of one day making the full national side it’s a long road ahead and it’s a bit premature to start talking about that.

First of all they’ve got to establish themselves on a regular basis and that means playing for a season or so in Leeds United’s first team and maintain the progress that they’ve shown. The two boys have definitely got the talent to go all the way but you need a lot of things to go for you.

You need a bit of luck as well and you need to stay free of injury.

You look at young Sam Byram and he’s just starting to get back to his best now after his injury and all of the things have got to fall in your favour.

But if you are trying to compare this current crop of youngsters to those from the Alan Smith and Jonathan Woodgate era you’ve got to remember Woody’s group were top players.

Woodgate played for England when he was 19 so it’s a bit of a difference and they were playing at the highest level, too.

They were involved in Champions League football and playing in Europe against the top sides.

Although you can only judge a player on what they are playing against and how they are doing just now, it is a bit early to compare them to the likes of Harry Kewell, Woodgate and Smith.

We return to action at Blackburn Rovers on Saturday and it will be a tough game.

Rovers have picked up in the top half of the table, they are going well and they will be one of the sides that will be expected to be up there at the end of the season.

But if we show the same type of form, commitment and passing ability that we showed against Blackpool then you’d hope to go there and get a result.

I know Blackpool are bottom of the table and it’s a big difference, but the Blackpool game will have not done the boys any harm from the point of view of confidence.

You look at the next few games and after Blackburn we have got current leaders Derby County at home and then Ipswich away, they are all teams in the top half of the division.

Derby are flying and Ipswich have picked up and are going very well as well so it’s going to be a tough time and as I have said before, once we get to Christmas we will have a better idea of how we’re going to finish this season.

Internationally, there were good wins for England and Scotland this weekend and I’m looking forward to watching tomorrow night’s game. It should be a good game and it’s always a great fixture, England versus Scotland.

I will be very interesting to see what type of atmosphere it is at Celtic Park – I think it will be a great!

Stuart – my boy – played for Scotland under-21s and Nick played for youth teams at Scotland so I think we will be supporting the Scots! Will anyone be cheering for England?

Probably my wife.

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