It has been a long time since Leeds United had English players knocking on the door for international selection to the senior squad, and their fall of the radar looks to be effecting the younger players of today as they missed out on selection this week.
Of course, with Neil Redfearn’s side just about existing in the Championship, none of their homegrown players even entered Roy Hodgson’s wildest dreams when the senior coach announced his squad for an international qualifier against Lithuania and subsequent friendly against Italy.
However, despite that, Alex Mowatt and Lewis Cook must have been expecting to be in with a shout of earning their first England under-21 call-ups last week.
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As it was, despite Gareth Southgate calling up midfield players from Brentford, Reading and Brighton; Mowatt and Cook, two of the Championship’s most consistent performers, missed out on selection altogether.
Mowatt had perhaps the biggest reason to feel a little peeved. The 21-year-old has attracted Premier League attention for his match-winning and relegation-saving performances for the Whites this season. While teammate Cook, despite only just turning 18, demonstrates maturity beyond his years.
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Nonetheless, their disappointment at not getting a gig under Southgate would have soon be replaced by an excitement for Mowatt and Cook to display their talents for 90 minutes in the under 20s and 19s respectively.
To make matters worse though, neither of them even started. Mowatt didn’t even escape the bench on a cold Wednesday night in front of a sparsely populated Barnet crowd. As a player who wows tens of thousands week-in, week-out at Elland Road, the lad must have wondered what he had done wrong.
As Aidy Boothroyd blooded unknown entities in the professional game, one of the second flight’s most influential players sat twiddling his thumbs. Greg Dyke harps on about having more English players in the game, but is this muddled, confused and illogical selection process going to improve the end results?
It would seem ridiculous to suggest the notion that there is a conspiracy against Leeds, as some of their fans would like to believe. However, this kind of snub will only add to the fears among the most paranoid of Whites fans.
What exactly will it take for the national selectors to sit up and take notice that there are future diamonds hidden in the rough Yorkshire earth?
No doubt a few summer transfers to the big-boys will propel them straight into Southgate’s and maybe even Hodgson’s squads. Mowatt and Cook will be looking at Fabian Delph, Andros Townsend, Danny Rose, Ross Barkley and even James Milner; all of them turned out Three Lions on the back of turning out for Leeds at one stage on another.
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