Marcelo Bielsa in attendance as Leeds United trio combine for England Under 20s equaliser against Italy before Lewis Bate limps off

Lewis Bate combined with two Leeds United team-mates to score England Under 20s' goal in a 1-1 draw with Italy then limped off with an injury as Marcelo Bielsa looked on.

Thursday, 7th October 2021, 9:11 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th October 2021, 9:12 pm
STRING PULLER - Lewis Bate was influential for England Under 20s against Italy and scored the goal in the 1-1 draw, but limped off late in the second half. Pic: Getty

The central midfielder was one of the stand-out performers for the Young Lions against the Azzuri, growing in influence as the first half went on at Chesterfield's Technique Stadium and pulling the strings as the hosts took control.

Italy took the lead through Daniel Maldini, son of Italian legend Paolo, before Cody Drameh and Sam Greenwood helped tee up Bate for the equaliser.

The former Chelsea prospect, signed by Leeds in the summer, was challenging Drameh for the Man of the Match award when he was forced off with a little over 20 minutes remaining having appeared to damage his ankle.

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Greenwood, who struck the post with a second half free-kick from 25 yards, led the line for Andy Edwards' side until stoppage time when he was replaced, while Drameh lasted the distance.

It was a slow start for the Leeds trio, having little opportunity to showcase much more than their pressing ability in the opening minutes.

In a packed midfield area Bate was unable to get on the ball to dictate and England instead relied on the pinpoint distibution of goalkeeper James Trafford to build attacks from deep.

Drameh began to exert his influence in the opposition half out wide before Bate started to settle into the game, a lovely ball into the right channel for James McAtee whose shot was blocked.

Greenwood's best chance came on 16 minutes when he raced through on goal and shot from a difficult angle, forcing Ludovico Gelmi into a fine stop at his near post.

The striker provided a dangerous cross and some fancy footwork in the area to keep the pressure on, Italy struggling to clear their lines.

For Italy Gaetano Oristanio was a livewire and their main goal threat, firing his first chance over the bar. His second met the same fate but he was finding his range and a third, from wide on the right with the outside of his boot, had to be tipped over by Trafford.

With Bate getting on the ball and taking control, England set up camp in the visitors' half. He was spraying passes to both flanks and looking to hit Drameh with a ball over the top as the full-back crept higher up the pitch. Italy full-back Fabio Ponsi struggled to contain the Leeds man, who kept him guessing as to whether he would drive for the byline or cut inside into the area.

Italy's threat was increasingly held by their counter attack and that was how they took the lead, emerging from under the cosh through Oristanio whose deep cross was headed in by Maldini.

When England levelled five minutes before the interval all three Leeds players combined. Drameh supplied a low cross, Greenwood attempted to control in a crowd of players and the ball fell to Bate who slotted home with his left foot from 12 yards.

The two sides traded good chances at the start of the second half and Trafford was at full stretch to tip yet another Oristanio effort over the bar, this one the pick of the Inter Milan youngster's bunch.

The hosts began to get the better of it again after the hour mark, Bate maintaining a quick tempo and Greenwood putting himself about to win free-kicks in the final third, one of which he sent straight at Gelmi.

Bate limped off with a little under 20 minutes remaining with what appeared to be an ankle issue, the stoppage in play to allow him treatment giving Greenwood plenty of time to line up a 25-yard free-kick that he curled against the post.

England ended the game in the ascendancy but could not find the winner the 6,394 crowd wanted.

England U20s: Trafford, Drameh, Cirkin (Lawrence 73), Weir, Hill, Wood, McAtee, Bate (Azeez 73), Greenwood (Stansfield 90), Anjorin (Rogers 63), Bidace. Subs: Hayden, Cox, Mengi, Branthwaite, Clarkson, Rak-Sakyi, Young.

Italy U20s: Gelmi, Barbieri, Ponsi (Bouah 46) Armini, Viti, Leone, Oristanio (Cudrig 59), Bove (Gyabuaa 79), Maldini (Di Serio 79) Cortinovis (Tongya 90), Sekulov (Milanese 90). Subs: Garofani, Riccio, Dalle Mura, Bianco, Pecorino, Rinaldi.