Lewis Bate: the versatile former Chelsea midfielder who wants trophies with Leeds United
Of the clutch of bright young prospects Leeds United have snagged in the last few years, 18-year-old Lewis Bate could be the jewel in the crown.
Both a sharp passer and a strong dribbler, Bates won’t shy away from a big tackle and likes to pull the strings from the heart of the midfield, where he suits the number 10, 8, or 6 role.
A versatile player who is fizzing with talent, Bate has wowed fans with his performances under Mark Jackson, having featured in every minute of the Under-23s’ PL2 campaign so far after arriving at Thorp Arch from Chelsea over the summer.
Hoping to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Mason Mount, Bate had been progressing well at the West London club, and broke into the Blues’ Under-23s side at the end of the 2019/2020 season aged just 17.
That summer he twice featured in the senior matchday squad, first making the bench in a Premier League clash with Sheffield United before travelling to Bayern Munich with Frank Lampard’s side for a Champions’ League tie.
After reaching the fringes of the first team, Bate’s progress plateaued; having been championed by Lampard’s assistant Jody Morris, the departure of the pair in January 2021 signalled the halt of Bate’s rise.
With the pathway at Chelsea too saturated with talent for Bate to muscle his way through, the Londonder turned his attention to opportunities elsewhere and, despite interest from several Premier League clubs, including Liverpool, it was the dream sold by Victor Orta at Leeds United which most appealed to the young player.
On his arrival at Elland Road, Bate reported that his ambitions for the switch were to ‘play first team football and win trophies with Leeds United.’
‘I know how big the club is and I know how they play football,” he said, “Bielsa’s methodology and how he wants to play suits my game.’
Bate’s game certainly suits Bielsa, too. With Bielsa’s preference for a narrow squad comes the prizing of versatility, and the Argentine’s need for players who can succeed in a range of roles has come to the fore as a cluster of injuries have forced the Whites to improvise on several outings at the start of this season.
The midfielder, who is due to turn 19 later this month, has been called up by Andy Edwards for the latest round of England Under-20s fixtures. Bate scored his first goal for England against Italy on Thursday October 7 and will hope an ankle issue he picked up won't prevent him from joining the Young Lions as they travel to the Czech Republic next week.
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