Patrick Bamford’s Tally of 100 Goals Sums up a Brilliant Resurgence
Patrick Bamford: A Key Component in Marcelo Bielsa’s Side
That also leaves the 27-year-old with 12 goals this campaign, putting him sixth in the list of Premier League top scorers for this campaign.
Bamford has become a key component in Marcelo Bielsa’s side and his all-round attacking play is something to be applauded – notching six assists along with 12 goals so far this campaign.
It is these numbers which are now seeing the Leeds United striker’s name being uttered in the same breath of Harry Kane and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who have both notched 13 league goals for Tottenham Hotspur and Everton respectively.
His importance to Leeds is obvious by only scratching the surface of his statistics for the campaign thus far – his 12 goals is double that of winger Jack Harrison in second place among United top scorers, while a tally of six assists is one more than Mateusz Klich.
The former Nottingham Forest youngster has found his place as an out-and-out number nine in Bielsa’s brand of free-flowing and expansive football, with a supporting cast of Raphinha, Stuart Dallas, Klich and Harrison in a 4-1-4-1 formation.
But Bamford has not always had the leading role in what would has been somewhat of a journeyman’s career prior to arriving at Elland Road.
During his spell with Derby County and in a second stint with Middlesbrough, he was often deployed as both a left-winger and right-winger – allowing Alvaro Negredo or Rudy Gestede to take the number nine role in Boro’s ill-fated 2016/17 Premier League campaign, and Chris Martin in Derby’s promotion near-miss in 2013/14.
Success at MK Dons
Prior to his arrival at Leeds, Bamford had struggled to hold down that coveted number nine role and had a mixed track record when deployed as the focal point of attack.
Arguably his most successful periods as an out-and-out centre forward were in two back-to-back loan spells with Milton Keynes Dons – Bamford netted 21 goals and claimed six assists in 44 appearances across all competitions.
A total of 33 of those appearances were as a number nine, 19 of his 21 goals and all six assists came with Bamford in that position.
Along with his two spells with MK Dons, arguably Bamford’s most fruitful loan spell was during his first stint at Middlesbrough.
Despite not being exclusively used as a centre forward, Bamford netted 19 goals in 45 appearances across all competitions for the Teessiders in the 2014/15 season, as Boro narrowly missed out on promotion to the Premier League after a 2-0 defeat to Norwich in the Championship play-off final.
The ultimate collective accolade alluded Bamford that year, but his Championship Player of the Season award was recognition of the forward’s exploits at a higher level.
Forgettable Premier League Loan Spells
Further temporary moves followed, this time in the Premier League with separate periods at Crystal Palace, Norwich City, and Burnley. In 22 appearances across all three clubs, Bamford failed to find the net and build on the reputation he gained following his exploits at Middlesbrough.
The aforementioned second move to Teeside on a permanent basis from Chelsea followed, but one goal in eight appearances meant Bamford failed to reach the heights of his first spell in the northeast, as Boro made an immediate return to the Championship.
Patrick Bamford Rising to Prominence Again With Leeds
A permanent move to Leeds followed in July 2018 and Bamford started to fulfil the potential that we have come to see in the present day.
Despite being blighted with knee problems, Bamford netted an impressive ten goals in 25 appearances across all competitions for Leeds in a campaign that saw the West Yorkshire club narrowly miss out on automatic promotion to the Premier League.
Bamford was only used as a centre forward and became a mainstay in the dominant 2019/20 promotion-winning campaign, scoring 16 goals in 47 appearances across all competitions.
Bielsa’s magic was coming to the fore, as Leeds finished top of the Championship with 93 points and gave Bamford another crack at the highest level.
England Call on the Cards for Patrick Bamford?
The 12 goals that Bamford has scored so far this season has led to growing calls for Gareth Southgate to add the Leeds man into his next squad.
Bamford would be an intriguing addition for Southgate given the fact he is left-footed and therefore adds a new dimension to England’s attack.
Southgate’s decision to move to a 3-4-3 formation in recent times could offer Bamford a chance to gain some game time for the national team. However, a 3-4-2-1 formation may give England another alternative to Kane or Calvert-Lewin up top.
Whatever happens, one hopes Bamford is added to the mix when Southgate names his squad for the first round of World Cup qualifiers against San Marino, Albania and Poland in March.
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