The Rise of Lewis Cook

 

AFC Bournemouth midfielder Lewis Cook may be far from the headlines compared to his fellow teammates Joshua King and Callum Wilson, but his influential impact on the pitch has been paramount to their recent rise in the Premier League.

He’s an intriguing player to witness in action and his admirable work ethic combined with his sheer determination makes him an invaluable member of the team. Not only can he provide defensive stability ahead of the Bournemouth rear-guard but he also supplies a menacing attacking threat with his zestful runs and incisive passes.
Callum Wilson and Joshua King feed off his penetrating through balls to forge an assault on the opposition defence and Cook is at the core of their effective counter-attacking brand of football. He has a great understanding of the game and is a great anticipator when the opposition are seeking to create an attacking move.
It’s a testament to his ability that Gareth Southgate has called him into the England National Team squad and he provides something no other player can. Dele Alli may have the ability to drive at the opposition and cause mischief, and Jordan Henderson and Eric Dier are capable of bridging the gap between defence and attack, but only Cook is able to provide both a defensive and attacking threat.
At only 21 years of age, the sky is the limit for the young Englishman, but it’s also important that he remains grounded. As of yet, Cook has steered clear of any controversial headlines and he seems as if he has a sensible head on his shoulders.
Eddie Howe has masterfully steered The Cherries into sixth place in the Premier League, with six victories and just two defeats in their opening ten matches. Cook has made only four league starts this season, but from the evidence of his scintillating performance in their latest victory over Fulham, he’s likely to retain his place in the team for the weeks ahead.

Surge to Stardom at Leeds United

Lewis Cook joined Leeds United at seven years of age in 2004 and quickly rose through the academy ranks during his ten-year spell in the academy. By 15 years old, Cook was competing with the under-18 squad and had sealed the Under-17 European Championship with England.
His talent was evident from an early age and Leeds United wasted very little time in warming him into the first team by making him a first-team regular at 17 years of age. He shined in the spotlight and was voted Leeds United Young Player of the Year in two successive seasons in 2014/15 and 2015/16 respectively.
Leeds United had produced an array of home grown talent, including Alex Mowatt, Charlie Taylor and Sam Byram, but Cook was head and shoulders above any of his fellow teammates. All four youngsters became subject of mass speculation in the transfer market and it quickly became apparent that they’d be unable to retain the services of their most prized player.
In his final season in the Championship, Lewis Cook was voted Football League Young Player of the Year and numerous Premier League clubs sought after his signature in the 2016 summer transfer window. Bournemouth won the battle with a number of competitors and sealed the transfer for a respectable fee in the region of £6.3 million, according to Transfer Markt.

Paving his Way to Success

He arrived at AFC Bournemouth with a glowing reputation and seamlessly slotted into the midfield at the beginning of the 2016/17 season. However, his progress was quickly hampered by an ankle injury that plagued him during his debut season, but he responded to guide England to triumph in the Under-20 FIFA World Cup.
Cook went onto represent England in every age group spanning from under-16 level into the first team. He received his first call-up by Gareth Southgate in November 2017 ahead of a friendly against Brazil and was once again called into the national team during the international break in March 2018.
Southgate introduced Cook for the final 19 minutes in a 1-1 draw against Italy at Wembley Stadium and later included him in the preliminary squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Lewis Cook instead represented England at under-21 level and captained The Three Lions to success in the Toulon Tournament in June 2019.
After an uncertain start at Dean Court due to injury and inconsistency, Cook finally sealed a regular first-team during the 2017/18 season. He produced consistent displays match after match and deservedly received his first England call-up.
His story is a refreshing reminder that young players are still capable of resisting the stardom and celebrity lifestyle that so many youngsters indulge themselves on. He’s dedicated, grounded and humble, and his attitude has the potential to take him to the summit of the professional game!

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