*This was an article written by myself for All Things Chelsea, which has since had it’s domain taken down. I have had permission to retrieve this article and put it on my own website, The Chelsea Spot.*
If you switch on the TV and watch Chelsea, you will see young players left right and centre, recently highlighed with 18 year old Billy Gilmour providing two Man of the Match performances against Liverpool and Everton.
Hence, people are now starting to watch as many of the youth games as they can, and if you have watched any of them, there is one man who stands out almost every single time: Lewis Bate.
Bate is a 17 year old English midfielder, who is left footed. He isn’t the tallest in height too, at 5’7 according to Football Manager but the ‘lack of physical presence’ certainly doesn’t phase him. He signed for Chelsea at the age of 9, and has shown qualities to the academy ever since. Recently called up to the England U17 team, Lewis has impressed on every single stage.
But let’s really analyse his game…
If I had to compare him to two players, personally it would be a mix of Kovacic and Gilmour, with a sublime left foot.
Bate does his shift off the ball, just like any midfielder nowadays needed to play at the top level, but it’s his work on the ball which really stands out. His best two qualities are by far his dribbling on the ball, and his passing abilities.
Lewis plays in the middle three, either playing very deep or either as a box to box, exactly like we saw Gilmour play against Everton. Bate has played with Gilmour this year for the development team in the Premier League 2, and they were combining a lot and switching roles. This is something we could definitely see in the future, especially with both midfielders being so young and having a lot of time to try and build a strong midfield relationship.
Bate’s dribbling is brilliant. He is always looking forward and trying to drive with the ball. Whether that’s from deep, or in an attacking position, the midfielder is always trying to play on the attack, and even though it may result in a loss of possession a couple times, the end product which he provides exceeds the the errors.
We see top level players have a certain move which they can repeatedly do so many times, involving Reece James who plants his left foot right next to the ball before crossing it in, or our new signing Hakim Ziyech who can stand still and pick out a cross out of nowhere.
From what I’ve seen, Lewis Bate has one move which he likes to do. He is able to do a 180 turn on the ball so quickly, and normally happens when he picks up the ball, acts as if he’s going to pass it back to our Centre-Backs, before turning and driving forward with the ball.
Like I said before, another of his qualities is his passing range. His first touch is very good
– which allows him to play the difficult passes through the lines. His weight of pass is outstanding, with him always finding the perfect pass – especially between two defenders in behind – and also when switching the ball.
Leadership certainly isn’t an issue either for the Englishman, with him always looking to dictate play from deep, shown by him captaining the U15 Chelsea side. He also isn’t afraid to take a shot outside the box, and hits it well when he gets the opportunity too.
I’ve said previously when writing player reviews on Tino Anjorin and Gilmour, obviously these players have a lot to work on but only the sky is their limit and Bate is again another player to watch and has a bright future at this club.