Whelan: Bate has 'massive' chance of first-team promotion at Leeds straight away
Noel Whelan has claimed Lewis Bate could break into the Leeds United first team as early as this season.
The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, suggested midfield is an area where Leeds lack competition for places.
The Yorkshire club confirmed on Thursday (22nd June) they had signed Bate from Chelsea on a three-year deal for an undisclosed fee.
The 18-year-old had 12 months remaining on his deal at Stamford Bridge before opting to sign for Leeds.
Whelan admitted Bate would have to be patient before he gets his chance in the first team.
However, he did not rule out the possibility of him featuring over the next 12 months.
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Whelan told Football Insider’s Russell Edge: “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.”
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