LEWIS Bate is excited to develop under long-term admirer Karl Robinson at Oxford United.

The central midfielder today sealed a season-long loan move to the Kassam Stadium from Premier League club Leeds United.

Sky Bet Championship teams were reportedly interested in the highly-rated 19-year-old, who has played a handful of first-team games since joining from Chelsea for a seven-figure sum last July.

FULL STORY: Lewis Bate joins Oxford United on season-long loan

But Bate felt best-suited to United and is looking to make an impact in Sky Bet League One – wherever he is picked.

He said: “The ‘8’ would be my preferred position, but if the manager wants me to play ‘10’ or ‘6’ then I’ll happily do it.

“I like to keep it simple. I like to get at players and run with the ball, but also getting it one and two-touch. I’m a midfielder who ticks over the play.

“That’s a reason why I came here, they have a lot of possession, creating chances and scoring goals so hopefully I can add my game to this team.

“When he spoke to me about the playing style and how he sees me in the line-up, that swayed me to come here. I know I can become a better player here.”

Bate came through Chelsea’s youth system but left without playing for the first team, although he did make two appearances for the Under 21s in the Papa John’s Trophy – one against United in September 2020.

READ MORE: Oxford United beat Chelsea in Papa John's Trophy

He joined Leeds for a reported £1.5million fee last July, aged just 18, and revealed the U’s made their intentions known early in his Elland Road career.

“I knew there was interest maybe a year ago for a loan,” he said.

“I’d just moved to Leeds, I wanted to get to know the system and see if I could break in.

“I played a couple of times, but I feel like this is the next step in my career.

“I spoke to the manager and thought this is where I want to go, so I was just hoping Leeds and Oxford could come to an agreement to let me out on loan.”

The Premier League club are believed to see Bate as capable of stepping up to the first team one day and will be monitoring his progress with interest.

Reports in Yorkshire claim Leeds can recall the youngster early and that there is no option to buy in the deal.

READ MORE: Marcus McGuane praised for displays in deeper midfield role

Head coach Karl Robinson suggested that was the case as he laid out his plan for United’s midfield, revealing Oisin Smyth could head out on loan with several players ahead of the Northern Irishman.

He said: “Since the age of 16 I’ve known of the player.

“He’s an incredible talent. From a physicality point of view there’s always been that question mark, but (Marcelo) Bielsa took him to Leeds and one thing you know about his signings is they have to be able to run. It almost mirrors our philosophy.

“He’s an outstanding ball-manipulator, one of the best I’ve worked with, and that’s really exciting for us.

“We know Oisin’s probably going to go out on loan to learn one or two things, so we’ve only got Alex (Gorrin), Marcus (McGuane) and Cameron (Brannagan) really who are central midfield players.

“He can play as an ‘8’, which is really exciting, and he can also play as a ball-playing ‘6’.

“Marcus Browne can also play in there as a running ‘8’, so in games where we want to dominate the ball he can play in that three with Cameron and Marcus.

“He’s a top player. This is a loan to prepare him to play, it’s always been said to us (by Leeds) that this is a ‘protection’ loan.”

Three successive top-eight finishes have raised expectations at United and Robinson wants players who can cope with the pressure.

U'S HAVE YOUR SAY: Who should Oxford United target for rest of the transfer window

The U’s boss believes he has that in Bate, whose first-team appearances last season were against West Ham United, Arsenal and Chelsea.

Robinson said: “That’s part of our recruitment policy, you’ve got a young man who’s come through the Chelsea ranks and played for Leeds.

“He’s played a lot of games in the (Under) 23s, we watched him come on against Arsenal when Leeds went down to ten-men. He was very good, he coped with that.

“We watched him play against Chelsea in the Premier League last year.

“When you play at Elland Road there’s a level of intensity that goes along with that – it’s a really strong-minded group of fans who really believe in their football club.

“That’s what we were, and that’s what we want to get back to.”