Leake Relishing Every Challenge
Despite only recently turning seventeen, first-year scholar Jake Leake has already enjoyed a taste of Under-23s football this season.
One of twelve players to sign their two-year scholarships with the Academy last summer, Leake has been a mainstay in John Anderson’s Under-18s team this season as well as featuring at Development Squad level.
The left-back has wasted no time in making a positive impression within the Tigers' youth set-up despite admitting to a small culture shock when first joining on a full-time basis.
"I think when I first come through the doors as a scholar, it was a bit of a shock with just how different it was to the night training we used to do, but I think I’ve adapted to it well," Leake said.
"You have to change everything. Your diet and your sleep pattern have to be better. When you're not a scholar, you maybe can get away with that, but I think I’ve adapted to the change well, so hopefully I’ll just keep going and improving. I’ve liked and enjoyed the new challenge."
The Hull-born defender added how one of the beneficial parts of becoming a full-time scholar at the Academy has been the attention to detail of improving players and how every coach goes out of their way to help in any way they can.
"All the coaches have been really good. You can ask anyone to go through your clips with you or you can ask for help whenever you want and all of them are willing to give it so it’s been great.
"I think at the start of the season, I was struggling a bit in certain aspects of my game and both John Anderson and Richard Naylor were fantastic with me. They've really helped me out and I think that has helped me to improve as the season has gone on."
Leake's impressive form in the U18 Professional Development League caught the attention of Under-23s management duo Jon Beale and Andy Dawson, resulting in the youngster stepping up to make a number of appearances in a higher age group.
Leake is currently competing for a starting spot at left-back with first-year professional Matty Jacob, after Brandon Fleming joined Bolton Wanderers on loan in January, and is relishing the challenge, along with the opportunity to learn from a Hull City legend in Dawson.
"Obviously there is competition for places, but Matty has helped me out a lot. With me being younger and still making the transition, he has helped me a lot with a number of things such as my positioning and where I need to be on the pitch.
"Jon and Andy are really good as well. The sessions they put on are great and to have chance to work with and learn from 'Daws' - who was a left-back like me in his playing days - is great because obviously, I can take so much from him. He helps me a lot.
"He’s seen everything as a player and there’s nothing he doesn’t know. He’s always willing to help and always has an answer to any questions I may have. I think he’s one of the main reasons, especially after stepping up to the Under-23s, that I feel more comfortable in my game."
Focusing his attentions on the remainder of the season, Leake is eager to continue impressing at both U18 and U23 level - and is also determined to add goals to his game despite being a defender.
"I want to play as many games as I can as any game you play always improves you," he added. "I want to play more games for the Under-23s and try and establish myself in the team and perform well when I get the chance.
"I’m definitely aiming for more goals as well. 'Daws' was saying that goalscoring left-backs aren’t really around anymore, so I want to change that and get a few more goals between now and the end of the season."