By Alex Stevens
Liam Cooper sent a message to Lewis Cook congratulating him for winning the Football League Young Player of the Year award – and predicted “another row” with his youthful team-mate.
Cooper, 24, said teenage playmaker Cook deserved to beat off competition from fellow nominees Fulham striker Mousa Dembele and Walsall left-back Rico Henry to land the coveted gong on Sunday night.
The annual award is presented to the best player in The Football League under the age of 21, or the season in which he turned 21, and celebrates the emergence of young playing talent at the 72 professional clubs outside of the English division.
In a hint at the steel that drives 19-year-old Cook, centre-back Cooper paid tribute to his younger team-mate on Twitter and added, “See you at training tomorrow for another row.” Cooper also posted the hashtag #angrylittleman.
— Liam Cooper (@LiamCooper__) April 17, 2016
Cook will hope to follow in the footsteps of the 2015 winner Dele Alli, who has gone onto receive international honours and wide acclaim in his first season at Tottenham. Gareth Bale (2007) and Fabian Delph (2009) are also internationally recognised previous winners of the award.
Cook, 19, has been a mainstay of the Leeds team for the second consecutive season, starting 37 of their 42 Championship matches and providing further evidence of the potential that has made him a regular for the England Under-19s.
Explaining Cook’s nomination on their website, the Football League wrote: “The talented 19-year-old has won plaudits across the division and beyond for his dominant midfield displays throughout the season.”
The winner was announced at The Football League Awards in Manchester.