Patrick Bamford has got to be much better if Leeds United are going to continue with the system Sam Allardyce used in his first game in charge of the Whites.
That is the view of Alan Shearer, who was speaking on Match of the Day after Leeds’ 2-1 defeat to Manchester City on Saturday.
Unfortunately, it is a result that many supporters would have probably taken beforehand. Leeds have been on a terrible run of form. And Pep Guardiola’s side have proved time and time again that they have the ability to blow teams away.
Alan Shearer not impressed by Patrick Bamford after Leeds defeat
In fairness, the scoreline did flatter Leeds. The Whites struggled, particularly in the first-half, to get out of their own half.
Of course, that is partially down to the quality of the Premier League leaders. But it seems that Shearer did not feel that Leeds were helped by the quality of the hold-up play from Patrick Bamford.
Allardyce suggested that Bamford was going to be a key player during his tenure. So it was no surprise that he got the nod to start against City. And his hold-up play would have been a key reason why many would have opted for the Englishman over Rodrigo.
Unfortunately, Bamford looked rusty on a number of occasions as the ball went up to him. And often possession was lost. Certainly, Shearer felt that the 29-year-old did need to do a lot better.
“Well, if you listen to Sam after the game, he said they’re going to have to improve at least five percent. Yes, that’s right, but what they’re also going to have to improve on is when the ball goes up to him, if they’re going to play that same system, he’s got to do better,” he told Match of the Day.
“He’s got to give his teammates a chance. I know it’s very difficult for him because there’s no-one within 20 or 30 yards of him, his teammates. But he’s got to hold the ball up better to give them a chance to get up. Not only that, but it also gives his defence a bit of a breather, because if they don’t, the ball keeps coming back at them straight away.
“It’s just poor play,” he added, when watching Bamford give away a free-kick for handball.
Big Sam left with decision to make
Rodrigo has left Allardyce with a decision to make. The Spaniard scored a brilliant goal late on. And he is Leeds’ top goalscorer this term. He has certainly been a lot more ruthless than Bamford.
Leeds should see more of the ball at home to Newcastle next time out. That should help Bamford if he keeps his place.
But clearly, Shearer will not be shocked if Allardyce opts for a change up top after Saturday.