Leeds’ academy has produced some fantastic footballers in recent years with the likes of James Milner, Aaron Lennon and Fabian Delph all benefiting from their time at Thorph Arch before going on to represent England.
Having witnessed the success of this trio, Alex Mowatt was keen to follow in their footsteps when he made his first-team debut for the Whites in 2013 at the age of 18 against Doncaster Rovers in the League Cup. Impressing from the outset, the midfielder soon became a regular starter for his side with his first career goal coming in a 5-1 thrashing of local rivals Huddersfield Town.
Although Leeds would finish the season in a disappointing 15th position in the Championship, Mowatt won the club’s Young Player of the Year award as his outstanding level of consistency was recognised at Elland Road.
Despite missing the start of the 2014-15 campaign due to injury, the academy graduate marked his return to the first team with a number of brilliant individual performances as he fired home several incredible long-range efforts which will live long in the memory of the club’s supporters. Notching up a total of nine goals for the year, Mowatt was seemingly well on the way to become a modern-day hero for the Whites having been crowned Player of the Year in 2015 (via Leeds’ official website).
However, following another promising campaign in West Yorkshire, the arrival of Garry Monk as manager resulted in the midfielder falling down the pecking order which eventually culminated in him leaving Leeds to join Barnsley in January 2017.
Sold for a reported fee of £522k (via Transfermarkt), Mowatt experienced a slow start to life with the Tykes as he struggled to make an impact under then-boss Paul Heckingbottom. In need of regular first-team football, the 24-year-old joined Oxford United on loan for the entirety of last season and was one of the Yellows’ most impressive performers in League One.
After returning to Oakwell in the summer, Mowatt has given a huge boost as Daniel Stendel was announced as the club’s new head coach. Tasked with leading the club to an immediate return to the Championship, the German decided to build his entire team around the midfielder which has turned out to be a masterstroke.
With two games remaining this season, the Tykes are in pole position to secure automatic promotion from the third tier with Mowatt’s brilliance driving them on in recent weeks. Having scored in back-to-back games for the club, it would not be at all surprising if he can add to his tally of eight goals for the year against Blackpool this year.
Although he is playing at a lower level than Leeds’ Mateusz Klich, the fact that Mowatt has identical stats to the Poland international during the current campaign suggests that the decision to let him go two years ago may have been a tad premature by Monk.
However, with a promising career ahead of him, there is no reason why the former Whites’ player cannot push on over the coming years whilst a return to Elland Road in future is not entirely out of the question.
Leeds fans, what are some of your standout memories of Mowatt? Join the discussion by commenting below.
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