Leeds United: Patrick Bamford is finally finding his feet under Marcelo Bielsa

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Leeds‘ hat-trick hero Patrick Bamford claimed the Premier League newcomers shut up their doubters with their 3-0 victory at high-flying Aston Villa last week. But he too is silencing his critics.

Following Marcelo Bielsa’s side’s promotion to the Premier League questions were asked whether Bamford could be relied upon to give Leeds the firepower they needed. 

Just days after being crowned Championship winners Bamford made clear what he thought of those questions, writing on social media ‘and so it starts,’ followed by sleeping emojis.

Leeds striker Patrick Bamford is silencing his critics by banging in the goals this season

Leeds striker Patrick Bamford is silencing his critics by banging in the goals this season

The 27-year-old scored a sublime hat-trick at Aston Villa in the Premier League last Friday

The 27-year-old scored a sublime hat-trick at Aston Villa in the Premier League last Friday

Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa (right) is getting the best out of the No 9 and trusts him

Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa (right) is getting the best out of the No 9 and trusts him

A month later Leeds had smashed their club transfer record to land Valencia striker Rodrigo for £35million. A statement of intent to the league that the Elland Road outfit meant business after 16 years away, but also perhaps a sign to Bamford that he had to step up.  

And what a response he has provided. With six goals in six games, averaging a goal every 82 minutes, Bamford has kick-started his Premier League return following a three-year absence with a bang. 

The Englishman last featured in the top flight for Burnley in 2017, his final loan spell out of six from Chelsea – where he saw seven different bosses come and go.

His brief stint at Turf Moor was a disaster with Bamford and manager Sean Dyche failing to see eye-to-eye. Bamford said Dyche picked on him for his upbringing, where he was privately educated, learnt to be a musician and also turned down a Harvard scholarship.

‘Me and the boys got on fine but me and Sean Dyche just clashed,’ Bamford told Sportsmail in 2017.

‘I could sit down and talk to him now and be civil but we had different ideas of football. I didn’t get a chance. His team has done great, mind. I can’t argue with that.

Bamford joined Chelsea back in 2012 from Nottingham Forest but never made an appearance

Bamford joined Chelsea back in 2012 from Nottingham Forest but never made an appearance

Bamford went out on six loan spells during his time at the Blues, including to Crystal Palace

Bamford went out on six loan spells during his time at the Blues, including to Crystal Palace

‘There were a few comments at Burnley. Dyche said that because I had come through at Chelsea – and because of the way I had been brought up – I had never had to work for anything.

‘My background is irrelevant and I didn’t even come through at Chelsea. I started at Nottingham Forest cleaning toilets and scrubbing the shower floors.

‘So saying I didn’t want it enough was upsetting. I went home every night wondering how to get in the Burnley team. It was: “You’ve been brought up nicely, had everything handed to you”.

‘Is that what people think just because I went to private school and played instruments?

‘People don’t know. My parents never let me have everything. If I started something I had to finish.’  

He also had a brief stint at Burnley but he and manager Sean Dyche did not see eye-to-eye

He also had a brief stint at Burnley but he and manager Sean Dyche did not see eye-to-eye

It’s easy to forget that Bamford was on the books at Stamford Bridge for five years after the Blues snapped him up from Nottingham Forest in 2012. However he never made a single appearance for the first team.

Instead he was shipped out on loan to MK Dons, Derby, Middlesbrough, Crystal Palace, Norwich and the aforementioned Clarets. 

In League One with MK Dons Bamford notched 18 goals in 37 matches and during his loan spells in the Championship he bagged 25 in 65 appearances. 

But in his time in the Premier League plying his trade at Palace, Norwich and Burnley he failed to find the back of the net in 19 games. He scored his first top-flight goal for Middlesbrough following his return to a club where he enjoyed success.

Bamford’s not afraid to make a brave call – he decided to end his contract at Palace – and the choice to return to the Riverside paid off.

Following the arrival of Tony Pulis in the 2017-18 campaign Bamford recaptured the form of his loan spell there. His shot conversion rate was just down from 16.7 per cent from 2014-15. 

Bamford began to recapture form under Middlesbrough boss Tony Pulis in 2017-18 season

Bamford began to recapture form under Middlesbrough boss Tony Pulis in 2017-18 season

Bamford has started Premier League season in blistering style following key role last campaign

Bamford has started Premier League season in blistering style following key role last campaign

PATRICK BAMFORD STATS
Season Games Played Minutes Played Goals Mins/Goal Shots, Total (inc. Blocks) Shot Conversion Rate (inc. Blocks)
2013-14 46 3271 22 149 148 14.9
2014-15 40 3003 17 177 102 16.7
2015-16 13 355 0 0 10 0
2016-17 14 315 1 315 7 14.3
2017-18 41 2116 11 192 72 15.3
2018-19 23 1449 9 161 68 13.2
2019-20 45 3460 16 216 143 11.2
2020-21 6 492 6 82 23 26.1

Pulis had instilled belief in the striker by playing him in the No 9 role rather than in the wide areas and he scored 11 goals as Boro reached the Championship play-offs. 

Confidence restored he earned a move to Leeds, his ninth club, and was pivotal in their promotion to the Premier League last season, scoring 16 goals, with Bielsa the key to getting the best out of the Leeds forward.  

Bamford, who also speaks Spanish like Bielsa, has his manager’s trust. The striker is prepared to work hard and do his bit for the team, assets crucial to Bielsa’s high energy style of playing. 

Bielsa gave him the nod for Leeds’ Premier League opener against champions Liverpool and how Bamford repaid his faith. As the lone striker he was a constant threat and capitalised on Virgil van Dijk’s error with a delicate finish.

He was the star performer a week later in Leeds’ 4-3 win over Fulham, scoring and supplying an assist and then scored the winner at Sheffield United. A blistering start.

Bamford headed home with the match ball after his treble at Villa Park on Friday night

Bamford headed home with the match ball after his treble at Villa Park on Friday night 

After two games without a goal Bamford came back with a superb hat-trick at Villa last Friday, showing not only a striker’s instinct in the box but his class and quality with his second and third goals.

The treble saw his shot conversion rate reach 26.1 per cent – his best ever – albeit after six games. 

Nevertheless, Bamford is the ignition in Bielsa’s Leeds engine and the striker has definitely made clear he can cut in the big time. 



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