Part 3 of our 5 part series on bargain midfielders looks at a bright, young English talent who may very well be worth taking a gamble on.
It's been an impressive summer for the England age group teams. First the England under 20 team triumphed in South Korea lifting the world cup, something no England team has done since 1966. Success continued within the youth setup when the England under 20 team (comprised of under 19 and under 18 players due to the coinciding world cup) won the Toulon tournament.
Over in Poland the European Under 21 Championships are well underway. England have topped group A by securing a 0-0 draw in their opening game against Sweden before coming from behind to beat Slovakia 2-1 and hammering hosts Poland 3-0 in the final group game. All being told you might say in England at the moment "its all about the kids" so therefore we decided to jump on the bandwagon with todays player profile.
One of England's stand out performers at the world cup was their captain Bournemouth's Lewis Cook. At only 19 years old Cook is one of the most promising English midfield talents to break through in recent years.
When he was just 15 Cook was already an integral part of the Leeds under 18 youth team, his break through into first team action came in the 14/15 season where his impressive displays in the heart of Leeds midfield seen him make 37 appearances, winning the football league championship apprentice of the year award in the process.
More accolades followed in his next season when he was awarded club young player of the season and football league young player of the year following impressive displays in his 43 Championship appearances.A number of clubs held an interest in Cook and Leeds could only keep the wolves (well actually the cherries) at the door for so long before Bournemouth swooped in and paid an initial fee of 6 million rising to a potential 10 million to secure the players services.
Cook started the first PL game of last season lining up against Manchester United but after the arrival of Jack Wilshire on loan he quickly lost his place. In October of 2016 Cook then suffered a serious ankle injury which sidelined him for a significant amount of the season. It wouldn’t be until the 15th of April this year that cook next appeared featuring in the last 35 minutes of Bournemouths 4-0 defeat away to a rampant Spurs side. Things improved For Lewis in the next game he provided an assist as Bournemouth routed a tepid 10 man Middlesborough 4-0. Cook would go on to make appearances in the next 3 PL games providing one further assist in that period.
In terms of Looking at Cooks stats there isn't a lot to analyse due to the fact he only made 6 PL appearances with one of those being from the bench. Cook Averaged roughly 3 points a game with 17 in total, he created 6 chances and provided 2 assists in his 5 full 90 minutes appearances. But the key word here is potential, and his recent performances for England youth and his exploits in the championship show that he has this in abundance.
So by this point your asking yourself what are his prospects for next season and why should I consider him? Well firstly to have Cook from the start is going to require a leap of faith and some Bollocks the size of Vincent Kompany's dome because as we have stated a lot of his appeal is based on potential, which means there is large potential for you to exploit his ability as a differential.
We anticipate his initial ownership to be minimal and his starting price could be as low as 5M. With Wilshire's loan deal not looking likely to be made permanent Cook was very much back in favour with Eddie Howe towards the ends of last season so all indicators point to him being featured regularly for Bournemouth in the 17/18 season.
Bournemouth operated predominantly with a flat 4 across the midfield last season and I would anticipate they replicate that this year so Cook would feature in the middle in a fairly attacking role seeing a lot of the ball. He has great distribution and vision and can pick a pass out from a large range of positions on the field as well as having good physical attributes for a midfielder such as pace, robustfulness and a good engine.
With the transfer of Defoe to Bournemouth already increased Bournemouth's goal scoring threat should increase my next seen and by proxy Cooks assists and bonus points.
In closing if your looking for a high potential bargain 5th midfielder taking a chance on this guy could be well worth the gamble.
Image courtesy of Flikr/siwiaszczyk