United midfielder Lewis Cook has been named as the Football League’s Young Player of the Year at the 2016 Football League Awards.
Cook, who succeeds last year’s winner Dele Alli, received the award at the gala ceremony at Manchester Central on Sunday evening in front of over 600 guests from clubs, sponsors and the football industry.
The 19-year-old, recipient of the LFE Championship Apprentice of the Year at last year’s Football League Awards, has enjoyed another outstanding season at Elland Road, featuring 43 times in all competitions and scoring twice along the way.
Cook beat off competition from Fulham’s Moussa Dembele and Walsall’s Rico Henry to claim the award on Sunday night.
“It feels great, I’m really proud of myself,” he said.
“It’s like the next step, I guess – I got the Apprentice award last year and now this one this year.
“It’s been a hard season but this makes it a good end.
“People who have won this award before have been outstanding and have gone on to have brilliant careers.
“I just need to keep on trying to improve and getting better.”
Presented to the best player in the Football League under the age of 21, or in the season in which he turns 21, the Young Player of the Year award celebrates the emergence of young playing talent at The League’s 72 clubs.
The Football League Awards ceremony was being hosted in Manchester for the first time, the same city in which The Football League was officially formed 128 years ago to the day. In its 11th year, the awards ceremony celebrates on and off pitch excellence across the League’s 72 clubs.
Each season, Football League clubs invest more than £60m on identifying, training and educating the next generation of football talent. Cook follows a list of previous recipients who have gone on to be stars of the game – as well as last year’s winner Alli, the likes of Gareth Bale and Wilfried Zaha are former recipients of the award.