Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford is open-minded over his potential international future, having been omitted from Mick McCarthy’s Republic of Ireland squad for the Boys in Green’s upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers, as quoted by the Yorkshire Evening Post.
Bamford is eligible for a call-up to the senior Republic of Ireland squad through his grandparents, despite switching allegiance to represent England at Under 18, U19, U20 and U21s levels, having played one game for the Boys in Green’s U18s.
Former ROI boss Martin O’Neil had courted Bamford over the potential of switching again before his departure from the position, which McCarthy later followed up on by contacting the Grantham-born striker towards the end of the 2018/19 domestic season.
Bamford was reluctant to make the call at the time as he was focusing on helping Leeds United secure promotion into the Premier League, having missed large spells of the campaign through serious knee injuries, leading to suggestions he had snubbed a call-up.
McCarthy is no longer courting Bamford for a call-up, too, as the former Ipswich Town head coach wants the United star to make the first step if he chooses to represent the Republic of Ireland for his first senior international cap.
Bamford, though, is yet to declare his allegiance to the Boys in Green as he still has the Whites as his priority, but is open-minded over the key decision he must make on his potential international future.
“Some of the stuff that gets written in the press is a load of rubbish,” Bamford asserted. “I spoke to Mick and he asked me to basically change over nationality for the summer games, and I said ‘look, I had a bad injury last year, and I want to concentrate interest of the season with Leeds’.
“I am not saying no [to representing the Republic of Ireland], I am just concentrating on Leeds. I haven’t closed any doors, I have not said yes, I have not said no.”
Bamford keeping his focus on Leeds and helping the Elland Road natives achieve promotion having fallen short last season will surely be a welcome comfort for those in West Yorkshire, as the 25-year-old is vital to the efforts of United.
The former Middlesbrough man is yet to miss a starting line-up this term, while his four league goals are more than double that of any other Whites player after the opening six games (WhoScored), including the effort to put Leeds two-strikes clear of Bristol City and a match-winning brace at Wigan Athletic.
He also offers manager Marcelo Bielsa an intelligent option that makes strong and often dangerous runs off the ball, which frees space for his teammates to advance, in the eyes of Whites expert Noel Whelan (Football Insider).
What Bamford must be able to deliver beyond his goals is a constant presence in the squad, whether it be as a starting member or on the bench, as his absence last season through injuries left Leeds without their potential £10million (BBC) man far too often – missing 22 games across all competitions (TransferMarkt).
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