Patrick Bamford has defied numerous critics that emanated from his struggling Championship form last season – by boasting 20 goal involvements in 30 matches. Such form prompted reports that Gareth Southgate was considering a move to include the Leeds striker in his Three Lions squad but having overlooked him in March, does he have a chance in making the Euro 2020 squad? Nigel Martyn explains to LeedsUnited.News what would need to happen, for Bamford to be on the plane.
Bamford, 27, has scored 14 goals – including a hat-trick against Aston Villa and efforts against the likes of Chelsea, Leicester City and more – despite coming under enormous criticism last season. During promotion to the Premier League, Bamford scored just 16 and missed a hatful of chances – though it ultimately did not hamper Leeds gaining promotion to the top tier of English football for the first time since relegation in 2004.
On the eve of Southgate naming his England squad for the World Cup qualifiers against San Marino, Albania and Poland – the Guardian reported that Bamford was being considered for England along with Ollie Watkins of Aston Villa. But Southgate chose to go for Watkins instead of Bamford, and since then, Watkins scored on his England debut. Bamford, meanwhile, was forced to watch on from the sidelines as Kalvin Phillips starred.
Watkins has thrown down his claim for a place in the squad, given March’s call-up was the last before Southgate names his squad for this summer’s tournament. Harry Kane is likely to be first choice, Everton’s Dom Calvert-Lewin is second choice and then it is between the likes of Bamford, Watkins, Danny Ings and Tammy Abraham to fight out for third-choice striker. Martyn thinks their needs to be injuries for Bamford to win a ticket.
“I think there would have to be injuries – and probably more than one or two. He has had a great first season, he is integral and is very selfless to Leeds. His goals return is very good. But what Calvert-Lewin offers over Bamford is probably a bit more all-round centre-forward play. Just to be in the conversation has been good for Bamford – what can you do? He just needs to score every chance he gets,” Martyn told LeedsUnited.News.
“Yes, he’s got 14 goals in 30, but could have been 18 or 19 if he had not missed some chances. Had his goal ratio been better, perhaps he would have been given a chance. Watkins is a different type of player, he will go past someone – whereas Bamford is in the same mould as Calvert-Lewin and Kane, with Kane way ahead. You’d want a different type. Something would have to happen DCL and another for Bamford to get in, who plays a similar way. “
What could play into Bamford’s hands, though, is that missing out on Euro 2020 will give him the chance to rejuvenate and enjoy a pre-season under Bielsa – while whoever is called up, will end up being tired for the start of the 2021-22 season. With the 2022 World Cup on the horizon, next season, Southgate may finally give in and give Bamford a chance at England level. That, according to Martyn, is a distinct possibility.
“It’s [Euro 2020 inclusion] probably not going to happen, but you have eternally optimistic and play better next season. You can never say never. Beginning of next season, those guys that have been away for a tournament – they might be off it. Bamford might get in a squad at the beginning of the season, that is what happens. He’s well down the pecking order right now.”