Lewis Bate could be handed his Leeds United debut after Marcelo Bielsa’s squad has been pushed beyond its limits in recent days, according to journalist Pete O’Rourke.
The Whites have seen their last two scheduled fixtures against Liverpool and Aston Villa postponed due to coronavirus cases resulting in there not being enough first-team players to meet the Premier League requirements for the encounters.
What’s the latest news involving Bate?
Bate was included in Bielsa’s matchday squad for the second time this season when he was named among the substitutes for the defeat to Arsenal earlier this month, but he was not called from the bench.
The 19-year-old headed to Elland Road during the summer transfer window, with him linking up with the club’s under-23 squad to aid his development.
According to MailOnline, the Whites forked out £1.5million to acquire Bate’s services from Premier League rivals Chelsea.
The report suggests Leeds beat the likes of Liverpool, West Ham United and Southampton to his services after talks progressed at a fast pace.
In agreeing to move to the Yorkshire club, Bate penned a three-year contract which will keep him on the Whites’ books until the summer of 2024.
Bielsa has already spoken highly of Bate since his switch and hinted the England under-20 international has done sufficient work at the club’s Thorp Arch training ground to warrant being integrated into the first-team.
With Covid causing havoc and fellow central midfielder Kalvin Phillips being ruled out of action for two months thanks to a hamstring injury sustained prior to the festive period, Bate could be called upon sooner rather than later.
What has Pete O’Rourke said about Bate?
O’Rourke believes it is not out of the question for Bate to make his senior debut in the not-too-distant future.
It comes after LeedsLive journalist Joe Donnohue also told GIVEMESPORT that Bate was edging towards being given a chance by Bielsa.
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O’Rourke believes he could follow in the footsteps of Joe Gelhardt, who scored his first goal in the defeat to Chelsea earlier this month.
The journalist told GIVEMESPORT: “Lewis Bate has been playing very well for the under-23 side this season.
“He might get his opportunity, just like Joe Gelhardt and some other young players have been given an opportunity by Bielsa this season.”
How has Bate been performing for the under-23s?
Bate has pulled on a Leeds shirt 16 times since making the switch from Chelsea, with all of those coming for the under-23s.
Fourteen of those outings have come in Premier League 2, where he has missed just 145 minutes of action after becoming a regular fixture in the heart of midfield.
Bate’s first Leeds goal came in the EFL Trophy defeat to League Two outfit Salford City close to two months ago.