Leeds United youngster Lewis Bate could feature for Marcelo Bielsa’s side as early as this season, according to former Whites striker Noel Whelan.
The Lowdown: New season close
Leeds enjoyed a superb first year back in the Premier League in 2020/21, finishing ninth in the table and producing lots of eye-catching football.
The aim now is for Bielsa’s men to build on that achievement, pushing towards the European places instead of going backwards.
The Latest: Pundit tips Bate to feature
One player who has been tipped to feature at some point next season is young midfielder Bate, who joined from Chelsea earlier this week.
Speaking to Football Insider, Whelan claimed the midfielder could be given his Leeds bow sooner rather than later:
“I think there’s opportunities for everybody to break in. I do think midfield players right now is an area where, you know, we are a little bit sparse on. We could have more competition in that area of the field.
“He’s playing under-23s football despite his age. That’s probably a lot more difficult than the under-18s. It’s a lot stronger with bigger players that you’re up against. The fact that he can hold his ground there shows real promise.
“This season might be a little bit too much of a stretch but we could very much see him next season.
“Once you’ve got to know the club, the players around him and got used to the system, you’ll know what it’s like to play at Leeds United.
“There’s an absolutely massive opportunity there for everybody in that under-23 squad, to maybe progress through this season, especially in cup competitions.
“We could get a glimpse of these young stars that could be playing for the first team year in the next year so.”
The Verdict: Is he ready?
At 18, Bate is clearly still a young player learning his trade, but it would be hugely encouraging to see him given some minutes by Bielsa.
As Whelan says, it would be a surprise if he was used in the league too regularly, although central midfield is arguably one of the Whites’ less well-stocked areas of the pitch so he, like a few of Leeds’ other youngsters, may get a chance to prove themselves in cup games.
Over time, Bate could feature prominently, but for now, the odd appearance in the cup competitions would be ideal for him as he continues his development.
In other news, Leeds are reportedly closing in on a move for one player – find out who it is here.
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