Big chance for Lewis Bate to step up at Leeds United amid Kalvin Phillips injury blow
By Patrick Hayes
As the news of Kalvin Phillips’ two-month injury layoff filtered through to the Leeds faithful, the general feeling was that of despair.
As is so often the case around this time of the season, with the torrid matter of fixture pile-ups and the arduous demands on playing staff, naturally, injuries become increasingly commonplace [Telegraph].
Leeds may now go into the critical Christmas period with an already injury-ravaged squad.
However, the return of central midfielder, Adam Forshaw offers an inkling of light in an albeit, very dark tunnel. With ten games between now and Phillips’ possible return date, undoubtedly, a recently fit Forshaw will not be expected to shoulder all midfield responsibility.
While the start-gun doesn’t sound on the January transfer window for another month, Bielsa may well be required to delve deep into resources already at his disposal, and that could come in the form of Under-23, Lewis Bate.
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At the tender age of just 19, Bate took the leap to West Yorkshire, having received much of his footballing pupillage in the world-renowned Chelsea academy.
He came to the attention of Leeds boss Bielsa while starring for the Chelsea Under-23s last season.
It was reported by LeedsLive, that Bate is well-liked by Bielsa, and plays the sort of crisp, short-passing game that would suit the philosophy implemented by the Argentine.
Bate is yet to make a first-team appearance, so playing an inexperienced 19-year-old in a gruelling set of fixtures is the ultimate leap of faith, but it may be the case that Marcelo Bielsa’s hand is forced.
In other Leeds United news, Phil Hay shares what Joe Gelhardt may be privately thinking at Leeds right now.