Champion League

Leeds could repeat their Gray blinder by unleashing 20 y/o Thorp Arch whiz

Leeds United brought in a progressive and impressive head coach when they decided to appoint Daniel Farke as their main man ahead of the 2023/24 campaign.

The German tactician, who won two Championship titles with Norwich City, is a manager who has spoken about his desire to develop and work with young talents.

He quickly proved this to be the case by integrating 17-year-old talent Archie Gray into the first-team set-up as a regular fixture in the side this season.

The ex-Canaries boss could now repeat the blinder he played with the England U19 international by unleashing his former academy teammate – Lewis Bate.

Archie Gray’s Championship statistics this season

He has started 11 of the club’s 13 league matches so far this term and has caught the eye with his defensive work at the back for the Whites, having played in both a midfield and a right-back position.


The teenage ace has showcased his tackling ability with 2.41 successful tackles per 90 for Leeds. This places him within the top 20% of Championship midfielders this term, which highlights how impressive he has been in that aspect of his performances.

Gray has also displayed his progressive qualities with 0.89 successful take-ons per 90. This ranks him within the top 25% of his positional peers this season.

These statistics show that the English gem has been able to make an impact in out of possession, in spite of his age and inexperience, and Bate could follow in his footsteps.

The statistics that show why Bate could make the breakthrough for Leeds

The former Chelsea academy prospect, who has scored two goals in his last two appearances for Leeds at U21 level, has been named on the bench in three Championship games this term.

This suggests that the 20-year-old dynamo is on the verge of breaking into the first-team fold as Farke has trusted him to be an option off the bench on several occasions during the 2023/24 campaign.

He spent last season on loan with Oxford United in League One and started 24 matches for the club as the talented ace showed off his skills on and off the ball.


Bate created 1.1 chances per game for his teammates, which is 0.5 more per clash than Gray has managed this term, and made two tackles and interceptions combined per outing.

The Thorp Arch gem once showcased his defensive instincts during the 2021/22 EFL Trophy campaign for Leeds at U21 level. He made 4.5 tackles and interceptions, including three tackles, per game across two appearances, which included one goal, against Salford and Oldham.

Bate, who recruitment analyst and U18 specialist Connor Rowden claimed has an “unparalleled” ability to control games, will have seen how Gray has been able to establish himself in the first-team and now knows that there is a clear pathway for young players.

Farke has proven that he is willing to place faith in talented youngsters if they are able to take their opportunity when it comes their way and the German head coach must now offer the U21 star his chance to impress.

If the maestro can deliver the defensive contributions and control in possession that the aforementioned evidence suggests that he has the potential to do then he could be an excellent option for the tactician moving forward.

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