Lewis Bate declares ambitious Leeds United aim upon Chelsea switch and suitability for Marcelo Bielsa's style of play
New Leeds United recruit Lewis Bate has spent over half of his life at Chelsea.
The budding young footballer was just eight years old when joining the Blues.
It made perfect sense that upon signing for the Whites, the 18-year-old Londoner firstly had to thank those that he was leaving.
But the teen is ultimately ready for a new chapter in his career and is optimistic that his style of play mixed with Marcelo Bielsa’s methodology will prove a match made in heaven at Leeds.
Bate’s style of play has seen him make big progress in the youth sphere for both club and country.
The centre midfielder arrives at Leeds with seven caps for England’s under-17s and two for his country’s under-18s under his belt, in addition to his achievements at Chelsea.
Bate has been part of the Blues youth setup for the last decade and captained the side in the 2020 FA Youth Cup final.
The teenager then moved up a level to be with Chelsea’s under-23s last season and made 20 appearances as his side finished runners-up in Premier League 2 Division 1.
Having completed the switch to Leeds for £1.2m, Bate will initially link up with Mark Jackson’s Under-23s for the forthcoming season.
Chelsea’s under-23s will be amongst next season’s opponents for the young Whites who are now rubbing shoulders with the Academy football elite having stormed to promotion as champions last term. That is where Bate will start off.
Yet United see the teen as a potential first team player of the future and Bate hopes his game will be naturally suited to Bielsa’s swashbuckling style.
“I know how big the club is and I know how they play football,” said Bate to LUTV.
“I know Bielsa’s methodology and how he wants to play and I think it suits my game - putting other teams under pressure.
“The way Leeds play on the ball is sharp, looking to get the ball forward as quickly as possible, and teams can’t handle that.
“It’s a great feeling to be here and I’m delighted to have finally signed.
“It’s taken its time but I am glad I am here now.”
Taking to his social media pages as the ink dried on the three-year-contract that he had signed, Bate said: “Ten years ago I first walked through the door at Cobham for the first time.
“Since then the players and staff I have worked with over the years have helped me become the person and player I am today.
“However, I now believe it is time to move on to a new chapter in my career.
“But first I would like to thank everyone at Chelsea who has supported and believed in me throughout my time at the club.
“I will forever be grateful to Chelsea for what they have done for me on and off the football pitch.
"I wish the club and everyone associated with it nothing but the best for the future.”
Bate had one year left on his Blues contract but several Premier League clubs were interested in a youngster who made Chelsea’s first team bench on three occasions.
Former boss Frank Lampard named Bate on his bench for the Premier League defeat at Sheffield United last July, towards the end of the delayed 2019-20 Premier League campaign.
One month later, the teen found himself sat on the bench at Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena, looking on as Lampard’s side tumbled out of the Champions League following a 4-1 defeat and 7-1 crushing on aggregate.
Lampard was sacked five months later but Bate once again made the Chelsea bench under new boss Thomas Tuchel the following month for the fifth round FA Cup clash at Barnsley.
Liverpool, West Ham United and Crystal Palace were all reportedly interested in the five-foot-six teenager who now becomes a new option for Leeds in the middle of the park.
Assessing what sort of player he was, Bate reasoned “I am fast, as in terms of how quick I think when the ball comes to me.
"I am a good passer I would say, and I like to get stuck in.”
In addition to settling into life up north, matters will now quickly turn to getting stuck into pre-season training.
Longer term, the ambitious midfielder then hopes to be helping himself to some trophies.
“There’s a huge big fan base that is passionate and wanting to succeed,” said Bate.
“I want to play first team football obviously and win trophies with Leeds United.”
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Thank you Laura Collins