• U-23 Player Profile - George Cox




    George Cox supported his U-23 colleagues at the Amex when they faced West Ham in September 2018


    George Frederick Cox was born in Worthing on 14 January 1998. He attended St Nicolas Primary School in Portslade. He was a member of the Brighton Boys U-11 side that reached the national finals of the ESFA U-11 Inter-Association 7-a-side Trophy in 2008-09. Having come through the regional finals unbeaten in five matches (without conceding a goal), they played at Wembley prior to the England v France Schoolboy international on 13 June 2009, beating Sunderland 2-0 to claim 3rd place. Cox’s teammates included Tom Cadman (who went on to serve his scholarship at Brighton and Hove Albion and is currently with Burgess Hill), Isaac Christie-Davies (who would spend nine years with Chelsea before moving to Liverpool this summer), Charlie Wakefield (who has been with Chelsea for eight years) and Ben Pope (who was released by Albion at U-16 level and moved on to Worthing and now Burgess Hill). They were coached by Albion academy coach Mark Hendon.


    IN - AND OUT - AND IN - AT ALBION


    Cox continued his schooling at Hove Park School. He joined Albion at U-11 level and developed through the age ranks. He made his debut for the Albion U-18 side during his U-16 schoolboy season of 2013-14 when he started at left-back in the 2-2 home draw with Crystal Palace in September 2013. However, he wasn’t offered a scholarship by Albion and in February 2014 he had a trial with Aston Villa. Villa didn’t offer him anything as they felt he was too small. He returned to Albion where he made a second appearance for the U-18s as a substitute in April 2014.

    Cox remained with Albion in 2014-15 but his status was as a non-scholar on a one-year contract, rather than as a full-time two-year scholar, meaning that he was only getting expenses (unlike his teammates, who were now being paid). He was a member of the Albion U-17 side that travelled to Denmark in July 2014 for the Scandic Cup, and he scored in the match against HB Koge in a 4-3 win and also netted against hosts Lyngby Boldklub.

    Once the U-18 league campaign commenced, after a couple of substitute appearances, on 20 September 2014 Cox made his first start of the season against ….. Aston Villa, in a 3-0 home win. Straight after the game he was finally awarded his scholarship by Albion. Cox shared left-back duties with second-year scholar Dylan Barnett throughout the season and made 12 starts with a further 9 substitute appearances. In February 2015 he had his first involvement with the U-21s as a non-playing substitute against Derby County.



    Cox (to the right of Max Sanders) helped the Albion U-18s beat Shoreham in a pre-season friendly on 25 July 2015

    In 2015-16 Cox was ever-present for the U-18s as he started at left-back for all 30 games played by the youth team. He scored his first goal for the club in the 3-3 draw at Southampton on 10 October 2015 and netted a second in the final match of the season, a 2-1 home win over Stoke City. At U-21 level he made his debut when he appeared as a substitute in the 1-0 defeat at Stoke City on 19 March 2016, his only appearance at that level that season.


    FULLY FLEDGED PROFESSIONAL


    At the end of March 2016 Albion had offered Cox his first professional contract and he penned a one-year deal through to June 2017. He made his full debut for the U-23s when he started in the 1-0 defeat at West Bromwich Albion on 12 September 2016. Cox went on to make 26 starts for the U-23s in 2016-17, with a further 3 substitute appearances, and he netted his first goal at that level when he scored in the 2-1 defeat at Nottm Forest in the U-23 Premier League Cup in January 2017.

    Cox (along with fellow development squad players Des Hutchinson, James Tilley and Ben White) went away with the first team squad for a warm-weather training break in March 2017. At the end of the season he was awarded a one-year contract extension. Cox commenced the 2017-18 U-23 campaign as the regular starter at left-back. In early October 2017 both Cox and James Tilley were awarded new contracts, with Cox tied up by Albion until the summer of 2019.

    In the week that Cox’s new contract was signed, first team manager Chris Hughton was quoted as saying:-

    "Most of us knew about Tilley probably earlier than George. But George has made really good progress. … It just goes to show some can develop that little bit younger. Some stick in there and their level of performance can improve over a period of time and certainly that has been the case with Coxy."

    Albion U-23 coach Simon Rusk was quoted as saying of him:-

    "Coxy is a good example of steadily working at your game. You have to plug away over days, weeks, months, years even and just gradually improve all the time."



    Cox up against a Southampton U-23 attacker in October 2017

    In 2017-18 Cox started all 24 U-23 league matches (including the play-off semi-final and final) as Albion earned promotion to Premier League 2 Division One for the first time. He made a further 10 starts (with 3 substitute appearances) in the various cup competitions as he appeared in more matches than anyone else in the squad. He also added a couple of goals, but just as impressive was his ability to deliver a killer ball into the box to create goalscoring opportunities for his teammates. In May 2018 Cox was included in the ten-man squad that Simon Rusk took to Hong Kong for Albion’s inaugural appearance at the Citi Soccer Sevens tournament.

    This summer it was rumoured here on NSC that a loan move to Bristol Rovers was being lined up for Cox, to give him his first taste of senior men’s football. Unfortunately, just eight days later, Cox posted on social media a picture of himself in a hospital bed and reported that he had undergone a medical procedure (in November 2018 both the official club website and the BBC reported that the annual player health check had detected an irregular heartbeat; Cox's procedure was cardiac ablation, and he had to be awake for the procedure). Thankfully he returned to full training and made his first appearance of the season against Everton U-23s in the Premier League International Cup on 20 September 2018. Having re-established himself in the U-23 side he will be looking for a Football League loan come January.



    Now read:
    U-23 Player Profile - Ben Barclay
    U-23 Player Profile - Owen Moore


    Article created: 19 September 2018
    Article last updated: 19 November 2018
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