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Lewis Bate, Chelsea’s next young English star

https://theathletic.com/1954900/2020/07/28/lewis-bate-chelsea-jody-morris-talent-academy/

lewis-bate-chelsea.jpg

It is the moment every young player dreams of: one of the management staff is delivering the good news that you have been selected in the first-team squad for a match for the very first time.

Most people will assume that it’s an occasion where you are able to talk about every single detail — but that is not the case for Chelsea’s rising star Lewis Bate.

It was on the eve of Chelsea’s match at Sheffield United on July 11 that assistant manager Jody Morris pulled the 17-year-old to one side to tell him that he was going to be named as a substitute at Bramall Lane.

Soon afterwards, he was on the phone to family and close friends to reveal the good news, but there wasn’t much more he could add. Whether it was just pure excitement or disbelief over a childhood aspiration being realised, Bate can’t remember anything else about the conversation.

As he explained to people when asked about what was discussed, the midfielder admitted to being fazed for five minutes. The midfielder can’t recall what he uttered in response, let alone what Morris was saying to him. It is one of the only occasions in recent years that Bate has been guilty of being unable to focus. Mind you, it is his ability with the ball at his feet that does most of the talking for him anyway.

When the squad gather on Tuesday to begin their preparations for the FA Cup Final against Arsenal, Bate is expected to be among the group once more, trying to make an impression.

With 20 places up for grabs, coach Frank Lampard can name nine substitutes on the bench at Wembley, so there is a possibility he could be included. If nothing else, he might get to travel with the team.

It is a measure of his rapid progress and just how highly he is rated that Bate is in the frame at all. He began the season with the under-18s, was upgraded to the under-23s at the beginning of 2020, and is now regularly rubbing shoulders with all the internationals at Cobham.

Nine academy players have been given their debuts this season and perhaps if Chelsea had been leading 3-0, rather than losing 3-0, at Sheffield United, Bate would have made it double figures.

He joined Chelsea at under-nine level and, like Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Mason Mount and Callum Hudson-Odoi, has continued to impress while working up through the ranks. The England Under-17 international garners attention for the way he can dictate the game from midfield, with a silky left foot that can spray passes from one side to another and cut through opposition defences.

However, it was demonstrating a more feisty characteristic which really caught the eye of Morris. Standing a mere 5ft 6in and with a diminutive frame, it looks like he might be easily bullied by stronger, more physical players.

During one youth game that Morris was watching, an opposition player sent Bate to the floor with a crunching late tackle. There was not much of a reaction from the youngster. He didn’t chase the referee demanding punishment or asked to be substituted to recover from the pain.

After quietly taking the treatment, Bate got up and got on with the game. Then, 15 minutes later, he made a strong challenge of his own on the player who had hurt him. It sparked quite a few protests and complaints from the team Chelsea were playing but for Morris, it was a sign of Bate’s character and competitive nature. As one source tells The Athletic, “I think Jody saw a bit of himself in him”.

Morris had a fight to prove he was good enough to make it as a youngster at Chelsea in the 1990s. Despite being 5ft 5in, he went on to make 173 appearances for the first team. It certainly played a part in Bate being asked to participate in training sessions ahead of the restart last month.

Bate had kept himself very fit during lockdown, so much so that in the early tests conducted, it is believed he finished second among the group he was working with. As far as the coaches were concerned, that showed he had the right mentality, as well as the ability. He also impressed during drills with players much older and experienced than him.

It led to Bate being involved in Chelsea’s first game of any kind for three months when Lampard staged an in-house friendly between all the players at Stamford Bridge.

Bate wasn’t the only youngster involved — Tino Anjorin, Armando Broja, Jamie Cumming and Henry Lawrence also got minutes — but it was the former who really stood out. As one observer says: “They already thought he was good but what he did that day really made a big impression and made them think he is even better than they thought.”

Some might think in Billy Gilmour, Bate has a significant obstacle to bypass. They are of similar stature, playing style and love being in midfield.

Gilmour is 18 months older and has already made 11 appearances for Lampard’s side, including remarkable showings against Liverpool and Everton in March. A knee injury sustained earlier this month has halted the Scot’s progress but he clearly has a bright future in the set-up. Instead of seeing Gilmour’s presence in a negative light or as a bitter rival, though, Bate regards him as an inspiration, someone to drive himself on to work even harder.

Chelsea handed Bate a three-year contract last October and inevitably, with one of their emerging players, there have been enquiries from lower-league teams about taking him on loan. No decisions have been taken as to what he will do in the next campaign as yet. It is a conversation to be had with his agent, the club and his very supportive family during the close season.

But a measure of the kind of person Chelsea have on their books came in an under-18 game against Southampton last August. Bate was given the ball 30 yards out and he just stroked it into the net. It proved to be the only goal of the game but there were no wild celebrations. As his team-mates surrounded him, Bate just carried on walking calmly, as if what he had just done was no big deal, was part of the norm.

There is nothing ordinary about this kid.

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Leeds are supposedly one of the two clubs pushing hardest to sign Bate. So, I'd assume Bielsa/Leeds have plans for him. Think the reason Bate (and the other two) wants to leave is because we stil

Lewis Bate is very similar to Kovacic with a little bit more of a goal threat. He will have it easier than Billy making it into the first team because he can play also the no. 8 role, while Billy cann

He has one year left on contract. But cant see him getting much game time there as well.

Lewis Bate is very similar to Kovacic with a little bit more of a goal threat. He will have it easier than Billy making it into the first team because he can play also the no. 8 role, while Billy cannot.


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  • 11 months later...
39 minutes ago, nyikolajevics said:

Loan or permanent?

He has one year left on contract. But cant see him getting much game time there as well.

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I'm surprised by the stance of Bate and Livramento in particular who are both highly rated at the club. 

They both need to play football, and even if they moved to a mid table Premier League club, will they get enough game time this season to justify that move? I can't see Bate playing much at Leeds next season if he joins them, as they don't rotate in huge numbers and Bielsa already has quite a settled side that he trusts.

They should take stock of where exactly they are currently within their career. For me, a loan to a Championship club would probably be the best solution for both where they can play regularly and hopefully in 12 months time they are far more polished and experienced to be either knocking on the door of Chelsea's squad (i.e. fill a backup role here rather than a backup role at a Leeds) or they can be pushing for a starting or more established role at a mid table Prem club whether on loan (like a Gallagher) or permanently (Guehi).

I wouldn't recommend either signing long term deals at Chelsea, but I think it would have been sensible for them to sign a year or two extension and get out playing football regularly next season.

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As I said, terrible contract management that he only has one year left but he is too similar to Gilmour. Only one can make it so no problem with the ugly one leaving.

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31 minutes ago, Superblue_1986 said:

I'm surprised by the stance of Bate and Livramento in particular who are both highly rated at the club. 

They both need to play football, and even if they moved to a mid table Premier League club, will they get enough game time this season to justify that move? I can't see Bate playing much at Leeds next season if he joins them, as they don't rotate in huge numbers and Bielsa already has quite a settled side that he trusts.

They should take stock of where exactly they are currently within their career. For me, a loan to a Championship club would probably be the best solution for both where they can play regularly and hopefully in 12 months time they are far more polished and experienced to be either knocking on the door of Chelsea's squad (i.e. fill a backup role here rather than a backup role at a Leeds) or they can be pushing for a starting or more established role at a mid table Prem club whether on loan (like a Gallagher) or permanently (Guehi).

I wouldn't recommend either signing long term deals at Chelsea, but I think it would have been sensible for them to sign a year or two extension and get out playing football regularly next season.

Leeds are supposedly one of the two clubs pushing hardest to sign Bate. So, I'd assume Bielsa/Leeds have plans for him.

Think the reason Bate (and the other two) wants to leave is because we still have Kante, Kovacic and Jorginho while Gilmour is out on loan AND we are supposedly looking to sign a midfielder. It's understandable if the likes of Bate doesn't see a pathway to play regularly in the first team in the near future and wants to leave. As Pizy mentioned in the other thread, when these young players see others are making a name for themselves elsewhere, it's probably hard for them to just sit around, bide their time and hope something will fall their way. Can't blame them if they want take control of their future, especially when we look to be heading back to pre-2019.

Also, the problem with them signing an extension, even a year or two, is that they will give almost all the control of their future to the club. With a year left now, they have practically forced the club to sell them now or get nothing.

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13 minutes ago, Jas said:

Leeds are supposedly one of the two clubs pushing hardest to sign Bate. So, I'd assume Bielsa/Leeds have plans for him.

Think the reason Bate (and the other two) wants to leave is because we still have Kante, Kovacic and Jorginho while Gilmour is out on loan AND we are supposedly looking to sign a midfielder. It's understandable if the likes of Bate doesn't see a pathway to play regularly in the first team in the near future and wants to leave. As Pizy mentioned in the other thread, when these young players see others are making a name for themselves elsewhere, it's probably hard for them to just sit around, bide their time and hope something will fall their way. Can't blame them if they want take control of their future, especially when we look to be heading back to pre-2019.

Also, the problem with them signing an extension, even a year or two, is that they will give almost all the control of their future to the club. With a year left now, they have practically forced the club to sell them now or get nothing.

There may be a plan for him but I'm pretty certain it won't be starting XI.

I just feel, even if they signed an extra year and went out on loan this season it would serve them far better long term. With a season playing regularly Bate could well still move to Leeds next season but he'd be more likely to be in a stronger position to push for their first team. He could very easily get lost in the shuffle for a couple of seasons making a few appearances here or there and before he knows it, he's 21 years old and barely featured. Loftus-Cheek probably lost 3 - 4 years of his career being on the periphery of our first team but not quite at a level to play regularly. His loan spell with Palace could and should have happened at least a couple of years earlier.

The club I think will still demand a good fee, sell on clauses, etc because we could just hold him for a season and let a tribunal decide a fee. 

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5 minutes ago, Superblue_1986 said:

There may be a plan for him but I'm pretty certain it won't be starting XI.

I just feel, even if they signed an extra year and went out on loan this season it would serve them far better long term. With a season playing regularly Bate could well still move to Leeds next season but he'd be more likely to be in a stronger position to push for their first team. He could very easily get lost in the shuffle for a couple of seasons making a few appearances here or there and before he knows it, he's 21 years old and barely featured. Loftus-Cheek probably lost 3 - 4 years of his career being on the periphery of our first team but not quite at a level to play regularly. His loan spell with Palace could and should have happened at least a couple of years earlier.

That could happen or maybe not at all. 

8 minutes ago, Superblue_1986 said:

The club I think will still demand a good fee, sell on clauses, etc because we could just hold him for a season and let a tribunal decide a fee. 

The thing with letting a tribunal decide a fee is that it could go either way, no? Given the hoo-ha we went through last time with Solanke, the club probably want to avoid that.

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1 hour ago, Superblue_1986 said:

I'm surprised by the stance of Bate and Livramento in particular who are both highly rated at the club. 

If any of these players come good we can always bring them back for 50, 60, 70m so no problem.

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40 minutes ago, Jas said:

That could happen or maybe not at all. 

The thing with letting a tribunal decide a fee is that it could go either way, no? Given the hoo-ha we went through last time with Solanke, the club probably want to avoid that.

tribunal will only set a minimal fee to cover the training costs. The club will not let it come thus far.

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3 hours ago, Magic Lamps said:

As I said, terrible contract management that he only has one year left but he is too similar to Gilmour. Only one can make it so no problem with the ugly one leaving.

I think he is not that similar to Billy. Height wise yes, but Bate is more like a goal scoring Kovacic. 

Devastated that he is leaving. I rated him so much😭. Bate, Tammy, maybe Ruben, Guehi and Livra are all leaving

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4 hours ago, Magic Lamps said:

As I said, terrible contract management that he only has one year left but he is too similar to Gilmour. Only one can make it so no problem with the ugly one leaving.

The problem that you have with younger players is I believe there are restrictions in place on length of contract you can give them. I don't think a long term contract can be given to them until they turn 18 (although happy to be corrected if wrong). If Bate turned 18 in October last year, I assume they have been trying to tie him down since then. Not much more the club can do in this situation. 

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I think we would have seen him under Frank is he was ‘that good’ but again who knows. Not doubting he has potential but whilst Leeds may not be the worst move, its hardly outstanding either as theres no given he will play much more there than here really. Don’t think he will play regularly there this season at least anyway, although if he does fair enough. 

Livramento going to Brighton when Lamptey is there, is 100% a stupid move though. If he wants to play, going to a team who have another young RB - who had to leave us in the first place at to get first team football and is only 20 years old - who will likely be their first choice, well its stupidity. But again, fair play.

Lot of talk that Sterling has impressed Tuchel in training so we will see how it goes with regards to if losing these 2 is as bad as people seem to think. Bate nowhere near the first team regardless so can’t see the fuss for the next 2/3/4 seasons at least and Livramento well we’ve got James who is vastly superior as it is and the most sensible long term option looking at our squad for RB/RWB.

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1 hour ago, OneMoSalah said:

I think we would have seen him under Frank is he was ‘that good’ but again who knows. Not doubting he has potential but whilst Leeds may not be the worst move, its hardly outstanding either as theres no given he will play much more there than here really. Don’t think he will play regularly there this season at least anyway, although if he does fair enough. 

Livramento going to Brighton when Lamptey is there, is 100% a stupid move though. If he wants to play, going to a team who have another young RB - who had to leave us in the first place at to get first team football and is only 20 years old - who will likely be their first choice, well its stupidity. But again, fair play.

Lot of talk that Sterling has impressed Tuchel in training so we will see how it goes with regards to if losing these 2 is as bad as people seem to think. Bate nowhere near the first team regardless so can’t see the fuss for the next 2/3/4 seasons at least and Livramento well we’ve got James who is vastly superior as it is and the most sensible long term option looking at our squad for RB/RWB.

It probably means either a) Lamptey is going or b) his injury issues aren't getting any better.

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how much did we get for him? any buy back clause? what is it with these academy players running away from Chelsea lately?

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