LEWIS Bate has joined Oxford United on a season-long loan.

The highly-rated midfielder arrives from Premier League club Leeds United, who paid a seven-figure fee to buy him from Chelsea last summer.

Bate, 19, has made four appearances for the Yorkshire side and has represented England up to Under 20 level.

But his debut in a professional game came at the Kassam Stadium in September 2020, when the U’s beat Chelsea Under 21s 2-1 in the Papa John's Trophy.

“I spoke with the manager and he swayed it,” he said.

“In the last couple of years I’ve been exposed to a first-team environment, so I’m looking forward to being in this one.

“Going for a promotion is exciting and hopefully we can do it here.

“I want a lot of games and quality minutes, I know it won’t be easy as I’ll be fighting for a shirt.”

The central midfielder is United's seventh signing of the summer transfer window.

Bate came through Chelsea’s youth system and made two appearances for the Under 21s in 2020/21, before Leeds paid a reported £1.5million for him last July.

He played twice in the Papa John’s Trophy early in the season and made his senior debut at West Ham United in the Emirates FA Cup in January.

Three Premier League appearances followed later in the campaign, including a first start against his former club in May as Leeds narrowly avoided relegation.

Bate said: “Last season was tough, people’s wages were on the line so thinking about relegation was difficult.

“On the flip side of that, fighting for promotion can only be a good thing.”