By Noel Whelan

25th Jul, 2021 | 6:00pm

Whelan: This may be how Leeds won Bate race after rival reveal

Noel Whelan has suggested a clear “pathway” to first-team football helped Leeds United beat rivals to sign Lewis Bate from Chelsea.

The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, suggested youth talent “can see the potential” of breaking into the senior side at Elland Road.

Leeds confirmed Bates’ signing on Thursday (July 22nd) and stated “a number of clubs” were interested in his capture.

The Athletic claim the Whites have beaten West Ham United, Liverpool, Leicester City and Brighton & Hove Albion to Bate.

Whelan heralded Leeds’ proven track record of promoting youth talent into the first team.

As such, he suggested Elland Road was an attractive destination for any hot prospect.

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“It’s vitally important there’s a pathway seen by these young players,” Whelan told Football Insider’s Russell Edge.

“It’s probably a pathway that’s more viable than you’d probably get at Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City.

“I think the fact when you go back years and years, even when I was playing, that pathway is an open door. If you’re good enough, you get given an opportunity.

“Look at everything that Leeds United has to offer right now.

“The training facilities, the way they’re looked after, the way they’re mentored by Mark Jackson and Marcelo Bielsa and all the other staff that are there at Leeds United and Thorp Arch.

“They can see the potential that’s going to be there for them and can progress with the club.”

Bate is yet to make his senior debut but was a regular for Chelsea’s under-23s.

Kalvin Phillips, Jamie Shackleton and Leif Davis are among the most recent youth graduates to break into Leeds’ first team.

In other news, Leeds United in advanced talks to sign ‘next Virgil van Dijk’ from giants.