Lewis Bate: A Most Important Midfielder

By Callum Burgess @Calstergram123

Why Lewis Bate is the most important part of Mike Williamson’s midfield?

Ever since joining on loan from Leeds United, 21-year-old Lewis Bate has shown the extent of his footballing intelligence through his expertly crafted pinpoint passes and dominant midfield performances.

In Milton Keynes Dons’ 3-0 win against Newport County this weekend, their midfielders orchestrated a commanding display against their direct midfield opponents, dribbling past them with ease and playing dazzling long balls behind their defensive structure.

With Dan Kemp, Stephen Wearne, Jack Payne, and Alex Gilbey all contributing to goals, you would be forgiven for ignoring the individual performance of Lewis Bate, but their freedom to get forward can be attributed to the deep-lying brilliance of England’s U20 international star.

Lewis Bate attempted a grand total of 58 passes on Saturday, with 54 of them finding their way to another teammate, giving him a 93.1% pass success rate against Newport County and, according to WhoScored.com, he has managed a 91.7% pass completion rate over his six games in League Two.

Alongside his impressive passing record, he completed five successful dribbles out of five, taking players completely out of the game before distributing the ball to his attacking counterparts.

Despite conceding one foul, he used his quick thinking and ability to move the ball forward to pass the ball to his teammate, which lured Aaron Wildig into making a cynical yellow card offence.

Newport County could hardly get out when they won the ball back, and Lewis Bate recovered the ball instantly after a misplaced pass, showing his tenacity and drive to push the team on when he found his teammate, Joe Tomlinson, on the wing.

When Newport County chose to come forward with the ball, Bate managed to intercept the ball twice, which his teammates recycled and regained possession.

Over his six games at the club, he has grown a brilliant rapport with his teammates, which was perfectly on display with fellow loanee, Emre Tezgel, in the second half.

It seems like Mike Williamson has instructed Bate to stay back when the Dons come forward in their droves to try and limit any potential counterattacks from the opposition but he would get involved heavily on the edge of the box when he dribbled forward with the ball on his own accord.

In what was arguably Emre Tezgel’s best game since joining on loan from Championship side Stoke City, the duo played some short but intricate passes between each other in the 62nd minute before Bate’s powerful strike was pushed over the crossbar by Newport County’s goalkeeper, Nick Townsend.

The Dons have struggled with keeping clean sheets recently after a goalkeeping injury crisis has meant that Nathan Harness and Michael Kelly have rotated between the sticks but a strong performance from defender Warren O’Hora and Lewis Bate’s willingness to get back and support his defenders meant that Kelly was limited to making two saves throughout the entire 90 minutes.

Lewis Bate has rapidly improved with his progressive play at MK Dons, which has left MK Dons’s fans vying for his permanent signature from Leeds United, but the focus should now be looking towards the final twelve games of the season.

With important fixtures against promotion rivals over March and April rapidly approaching, Bate and the rest of the midfield will have to possess the same level of dominance that they did against Newport County in the club’s goal of promotion to League One.

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