Jesse Marsch's early team news boast can help Leeds United deepen Chelsea regret

Leeds United head coach Jesse Marsch has been unafraid to show faith in young players during his time as Whites head coach

By Joe Donnohue
Tuesday, 10th May 2022, 4:45 pm

Leeds United secured something of a youth footballing coup last summer with the transfer of England U20 international Lewis Bate.

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The former Chelsea youngster opted to join Leeds with the promise of first-team opportunities ringing in his ears.

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While senior appearances have been few and far between during his first season as a Whites player, the 19-year-old has sufficiently impressed at U23 level and has routinely been called up by England U20 boss Andy Edwards.

Bate has featured in three first-team fixtures this season, most recently away to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.

The youngster drew praise from Leeds supporters for his mature display amid difficult circumstances, replacing the cautioned Mateusz Klich for the second half.

Bate had previously featured against West Ham United in the league and cup back in January before picking up an injury during U23s action.

CHANCE: Leeds United head coach Jesse Marsch says he is ready to call on 19-year-old Lewis Bate during the Whites' relegation run-in (Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)

Head coach Jesse Marsch has been bullish over the 19-year-old's first-team chances heading into United's final three games of the season.

"He's been training really well, he's been playing really well with the 23s. I have no doubts that if we need Lewis at some point here in the next three matches, that he'll be ready to play and that he'll perform like he did this afternoon," he said.

"As soon as I saw that Klichy had a yellow and we didn't need another lost player in the process then I was 100 per cent ready to put Lewis on the pitch and not surprised at all with his performance."

A key factor in Bate's decision to leave boyhood club Chelsea was the lack of a pathway to first-team involvement.

Given Marsch's comments, it seems entirely likely he will feature again - probably from the substitutes' bench - over the course of the next three games and, match fitness permitting, is expected to be named in the matchday squad against the Blues.

Doing so on Wednesday evening would pit him against players he has trained with in the past, but stood little chance of playing alongside at Chelsea.

While Premier League footballers rarely need additional motivation, the prospect of taking on a former club where opportunities were limited, less than a year on from making the switch, should serve as an ample incentive for Bate to perform at his best.