By Amir Mir
Garry Monk has revealed why he did not allow Lewis Cook to represent England in this summer’s Under-19 European Championships.
The Leeds manager blocked the move in order to protect the young midfielder after a gruelling season with the Elland Road club.
The European Championships start next month in Germany for the youngsters with the tournament ending on July 24, a schedule which would have ruled Cook out of the club’s pre-season programme.
Monk felt this would be detrimental both to the player and to Leeds.
“Another part of it is the amount of football he’s played for such a young lad,” said Monk to the official Leeds website. “You have to protect the player as well.
“I took the decision. Talking to the player, I made him very aware of the reasons why and he fully understood. I spoke to Aidy Boothroyd and he understood.”
Cook graduated from the Leeds academy and has represented England at many age levels, including nine appearances for the Boothroyd’s side.
His newly appointed manager admitted he is “the villain in this”, but insisted it was due to wanting the player for the whole of pre-season, so that they can fully prepare for the first game of the Championship season on 7 August, away to QPR.
The 19-year-old was named the Football League’s young player of the year in the 2015-16 Championship campaign.
But Monk insists it’s one of the best feelings to represent your country and that Cook will learn from him over the coming months.
“I’ve never stopped a player playing for his country, it’s one of the best things you can achieve in your career. But this is a unique situation and it’ll probably never happen again,” added Monk to the Leeds website.
“Had Lewis already worked for me for 12 months, I’d have been quite happy for him to go there because he’d know how I work and what I want to put in place.
“Because he doesn’t have that idea, it’s very crucial that he’s here and he’s getting that information straightaway from day one.
“It’s not an easy thing to accept but he was great with it. He understood the reasons why and he agrees with my decision and understands that he needs to be here..
Monk, 37, believes he can help the Leeds and England youngster become a better player for both club and country and the most important thing is his development.
In other Leeds news, supporters have reactedwith joy on Twitter to the signing of a high quality striker.