Perhaps the most positive thing to come out of the 2014/15 season for Leeds United was the form of young midfield duo Alex Mowatt and Lewis Cook.
Although both were impressive, it was probably the older Mowatt who had the biggest impact, particularly near the latter end of the season.
Having joined the club aged six, the 20-year-old has risen through the ranks at Elland Road and made his debut for the club in 2013. Since then he has established himself in the team and made great progress last season under the tuition of Neil Redfearn, putting an early season injury behind him to end the campaign as United’s second top scorer with nine goals. His fine form was rewarded as he won the club’s Player of the Year and Fans’ Player of the Year awards, a fantastic feat for a player of his age. The challenge for Mowatt now is to improve his game further and help lead the Whites to promotion this season.
Down the years there have been plenty of young English midfielders who have been built up as ‘the next big thing’, but for whatever reason haven’t reached their potential. This is a massive season for Mowatt with new head coach Uwe Rosler already putting his faith in the youngster by giving him the number 10 shirt, yes it’s only a number but it’s an early statement that the German regards him as one of his key players. Mowatt can play anywhere across the midfield and is technically brilliant, I’m sure you have already seen his superb tiki-taka goal from the weekend’s 2-0 win over Everton! Not only does he possess great skill, but the Doncaster-born man has a fantastic strike on him – he scored several long range goals last season including two sublime free-kicks. What makes him a fans’ favourite more than anything is his never-say-die attitude and desire to win; he shows passion and commitment in abundance and is a future Leeds United captain in my eyes.
As far as young footballers go, Mowatt has a lot going for him. What let him down in the last campaign was not a fault of his own. He was playing in a struggling team for the majority of the season, with the constant managerial changes and uncertainty off the field not helping either. It’s no surprise he was linked with a move away from the club on several occasions, but thankfully he remains a Leeds United player and I sincerely hope he remains just that for the remainder of his career. For that to happen we need to get promoted, sooner rather than later! As the new season sits just a few days away, we look a much stronger outfit than we did this time last year. Mowatt’s midfield partnership with fellow academy product Lewis Cook holds massive potential, and with new signings Tom Adeyemi, Stuart Dallas and Chris Wood likely to add much more pace and power to United’s attack, that Premier League dream seems a lot closer than it did 12 months ago.
A lot of Alex Mowatt’s success so far has been down to playing without fear and he should continue to do this. He is a level-headed individual that trusts his ability in possession and always looks to go forward with the ball, something that supporters love to see. He was brilliant in a struggling team last season, so with better individuals around him now, he can take his game to the next level. If Leeds are to have a good season then expect Alex Mowatt to play a massive part in it, this his time to shine and I expect him to grab the opportunity with both hands.