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Player profiles:
Lee Cook
Position: Left winger
From: Aylesbury United - free transfer - March 2000
Career stats: Soccerbase
He is: About to go one way or t'other.
Past Profiles: July 2001


Once upon a time there was a young left-winger called Lee. He broke into the first team and was tremendously exciting. Some quite scintillating performances had people talking, excited. Here was a prospect, a future star.

Except that young Lee was usurped. When his back was turned another left winger appeared, younger than Lee and more exotically talented still. Lee found himself pushed from the limelight, fielded on the wrong wing if at all and no longer the darling of the crowd's affections.

He handled it badly. To what extent he was unlucky and to what extent his character was flawed in a fashion that would have shown itself sooner or later is a matter of conjecture, either way he disappeared up his own backside and never fulfilled his early promise.

How far this tale mirrors that of Lee Cook we shall learn to some degree over the coming season. At the very least, Anthony McNamee's involvement with the England U20s should prohibit him deciding that he's Welsh, whatever his parentage. He doesn't really look like Ryan Giggs either.

And one can only hope that Lee Cook gives the whole thing a better crack than Lee Sharpe did in Manchester ten years ago. The stud that he caught in the pitch during GT's farewell at Turf Moor may have made little difference in the long term... Vialli's recruitment policy took little enough account of the make-up of his squad, it's unlikely that he would have been influenced by the fitness of a left-sided midfielder. Glass would, therefore, probably have been recruited and played anyway, and McNamee would surely have emerged.

But the handful of games that Cook enjoyed in the spring of 2001 glittered in a way that his showings have not done since. He had real momentum that eight months out of the first team cruelly curtailed.

Cook spent a remarkably successful loan spell at Loftus Road in 2002-03 where Kenny Jackett seems to have tought him how to track back... he came back looking positive and bullish, more up for the fight. In common with many young wingers (with the exception, perhaps crucially, of Anthony McNamee) he needs to work on the final ball, but Cook's relentless ebullience will always cause problems for defences and is a decent weapon to have in the armoury.

There appears, at the time of writing, to be a place on the left side of Watford's midfield to play for. The duel promises to be very exciting indeed.

Matt Rowson
Last updated: June 2003