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Alex Mowatt interview: Barnsley star baking to help cope with lockdown
In an exclusive interview with Alex Mowatt, Adam Bate finds out how the Barnsley captain is getting through the coronavirus lockdown...
Last Updated: 04/04/20 9:02am
"A lot of FIFA. A lot of gym. A lot of baking. That's about it really."
Not many people will be surprised by two of those activities but baking is a slightly more unusual hobby for Barnsley captain Alex Mowatt. The 25-year-old midfielder is satisfying his competitive streak during the coronavirus lockdown with a different type of contest.
"Me and all the boys in the group chat are doing the Mary Berry thing, the Great British Bake-Off," he tells Sky Sports. "I have got to bake a cake by six o'clock tonight. The others in the chat who are not baking, they are the judges. They can't taste it so it's on appearance."
Will he be getting any help with it?
"No help allowed, it has to be my own work," he explains.
"Jack Payne at Lincoln, he must be the worst out of all of us. He was practising yesterday and made some cookies but they were awful."
These are strange times for everyone and footballers are no different.
"All we want is the virus to be over, that is the priority," says Mowatt.
"People are missing the banter and just being around each other every day. It is a bit strange not being there but the group chats are busy every day and helping us through it.
"The problem is that everyone is hearing different things. We have some foreign lads in Austria and Germany and they are telling us what things are like over there."
Mowatt himself went on a short break to Dubai last month, arriving home the day before it went into lockdown. "I got quite lucky there," he admits.
Now back home in Doncaster where he lives with his girlfriend, Mowatt has settled into a routine of sorts as he maintains his training regime alone.
"It's just about getting your work done throughout the day," he explains. "I was on the bike earlier and there are a number of apps that we are using. I have got a polar watch and a heart-rate monitor so I send that to the fitness coach at the end of each day.
"It is OK for now. It really has not been too bad, but going back to football, which is what we all want, will actually be the hardest bit. You could have been just running for four or five weeks. It does get boring. Obviously, we would rather be training with each other.
"There are a few players with contracts up as well and they will want to know what is going on sooner rather than later. You want to get your life sorted really.
"We have heard so many different possibilities."
With Barnsley currently bottom of the Championship, the club could be forgiven for having their own reasons for wanting the season to be curtailed but Mowatt's reflections on the campaign - and indeed his time with the Tykes - are altogether positive.
It was here that he relaunched a promising career that had stuttered a little amid the uncertainty at Leeds United, where he had been named player of the year in 2015.
"There are always Leeds fans commenting on my posts on social media which is nice. Unfortunately for me, during my time there, I don't think there was ever a manager who was there for longer than six months. It was all very hectic.
"Now it seems to have settled down and they have a world-class manager who has got people playing. It is good to see them doing well and playing well. It's great to see.
"But Barnsley has been great for me. Getting promoted last season was the best experience of my career and being back in the Championship has been great too.
"Obviously, we are not in a good position in the table but some games have been really good we have just been a bit hit and miss.
"When I went to League One, my main aim was to get back to the Championship and playing week in and week out and I have been able to do that this season.
"Now I just want to push on and keep progressing."
In the meantime, there is a baking contest to prepare for. So what's he cooking?
"I haven't even decided yet. I have to go shopping and get loads of things so I will have to have a think about it this afternoon. I just hope it'll be good."