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EFL Exclusive: A new era for Lewis Cook and AFC Bournemouth

AFC Bournemouth midfielder previews the 2020/21 season ahead of the opening weekend.

9 September 2020

Lewis Cook is no stranger to Championship football. Having graduated through the Leeds United academy, he made his Championship debut at just 17 years of age, before going on to make more than 80 appearances for Leeds in the Championship.

The talented Yorkshireman had a number of outstanding seasons for Leeds United, as he continued to make impressive progress, enhancing his burgeoning reputation and winning plaudits for his midfield displays at such a young age. 
In 2015 he was named the LFE Championship Apprentice of the Year and a year later in 2016, was awarded the EFL Young Player of the Season Award at the annual EFL Awards ceremony. So it was no surprise when AFC Bournemouth came knocking.
Four years later, Cook has made almost 85 Premier League appearances for the South-Coast club, he also has a senior England cap to his name, but following relegation last season, now finds himself back in the second tier of English football with Bournemouth, under new manager Jason Tindall. 
Speaking exclusively to the EFL at the 2020/21 EFL Season Launch, Cook discusses the new era for AFC Bournemouth, being back in the Championship and the competitiveness of the division. 
Lewis Cook on…
The new era at AFC Bournemouth...
It’s a big change of course [following the departure of long-serving manager Eddie Howe], but it’s something that we’ve got to adapt to and with such a short turnaround between last season finishing and this season starting, it’s probably come at a good time to be honest. We’ve got straight back to it, training hard and it’s served us well, so hopefully we can have some new ideas, some fresh faces and kick on this season. 
The quick turnaround following relegation...
Mentality is a massive thing in football, especially when you get relegated. It’s tough for everyone, it can be the worst thing to happen but it can also be the best thing to happen sometimes. 
We’ve got a lot of young players in our team and it’s something that they’ll learn from and hopefully all of us will bounce back from our mistakes. It’s been tough with such a short space of time in terms of recovery, and there’s work to be done to improve on last year if we want to put in some good performances and bounce back. 
On keeping fit with the amount of games in the Sky Bet Championship...
It’s definitely something I’ve had to adapt to and work on myself, to make sure I’m 100% fit all the time. I’m making sure I’m doing the right things and that I’m keeping fit. I felt it was quite tough towards the end of last season, I had a few niggles here and there, but I’ve relaxed the last couple of weeks and I feel good for it, training has been great recently and I’m looking forward to the season starting now. 
On pressures for Bournemouth to get promoted this season… 
I think there’s pressure on us to perform this season, definitely. We’ve come down from the Premier League, we’ve got Premier League players and we’ve got to perform. You’ve got to focus on the here and now and making sure that you as players are ready for the start of the season, because it comes around so quickly. 
On the competitiveness of the Championship… 
I always remember in Championship from my time here before that anyone can beat anyone, it’s a crazy league. There are a lot of highs and a lot of lows, I think you’ve just got to try and get on a run and win a few games in a row. Even if that run is towards the end of the season, you can really push up the table no matter when it is. It’s a very tough league, it’s right up there for entertainment and it’s an exciting one to be a part of. 
On its unpredictability… 
Towards the end of the season you start to see teams at the top of the league losing to teams at the bottom of the league, clubs are scrapping for their lives at the bottom and pushing for promotion at the top. It’s entertaining, it’s fast-paced and it’s fun to be a part of, hopefully with that we can get some fans back in stadiums to enjoy the atmosphere as well. 
On getting fans back in stadiums...
It’s part and parcel of playing football; the pressures, the fans - it’s why we play it. Fans are everything. It’s not just about the game, it’s a way of life for a city or a town, it’s massive. They want to be in stadiums supporting their team and enjoying their day and we wand them in the stadiums. It’s something that we definitely miss as players, so hopefully when it’s safe to do so it can happen. 

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