LEEDS United midfield star Lewis Cook was named the Football League’s LFE Apprentice of the Year at Sunday night’s Football League Awards ceremony in London.
Cook saw off competition from Charlton Athletic’s Joe Gomez and Millwall’s Fred Onyedinma and was handed his award by presenter Simon Thomas.
Thomas then joked with Cook that after the weekend’s events when six of Leeds United’s foreign players pulled out of the trip to Charlton Athletic with injuries that he was “firstly, glad that he had turned up.”
Cook, 18, looked delighted to receive his award and immediately paid tribute to his family, Leeds United Football Club and head coach Neil Redfearn - who has taken the teenager from the club’s Academy into the first team.
Cook said: “I didn’t expect this season to be as good as it has been. I’d like to thank my family and the club for their support.
“Neil Redfearn has always been behind me. He’s given me my chance and I’m really grateful for what he’s done for me.
“There’s a lot of good young talent coming through at Leeds. It’s great - really good to play in that environment.”
The judging panel said it would be “tough to find a more deserving winner” than Cook.
Head coach Redfearn said in pre-recorded footage: “Lewis has undoubted ability and he’s a player that from day one we knew could make progression and he’s not disappointed.”
Redfearn added: “For me he’s probably the one that’s made the most progress in a short space of time. You tend to forget that he’s only 18 years old and he’s had a real impact on what’s happened at our club.
“The run when we were successful and getting results, he was a real feature and We’ve missed him.
“The hallmark of a top player is that when he’s not there, you miss him.
“He’s only 18, he’s a fantastic young talent with real presence about him.
“There can’t be many more who’ve done what he’s done at such a young age.
“He’s had a fantastic season and he deserves all the plaudits he gets. He’s a real prospect for the future.”
Cook has made 38 competitive appearances in his breakthrough year and has also represented England under-19s this term.