Former Nottingham Forest head coach Steve Cotterill has lauded Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford’s more aggressive start to the season, as told to The Athletic.
Cotterill was in charge at the City Ground when Bamford emerged from Forest’s academy, and continues to keep an eye on his progress, having awarded the Grantham-born attacker his breakthrough into senior football.
One of Bamford’s earliest training sessions with the Nottingham Forest first-team under Cotterill saw the striker nutmeg an experienced senior player, and brought a wry smile to the face of the currently unemployed head coach as he was buoyed by his confidence.
Last season, however, Bamford was not the first-choice at Elland Road from the off after arriving from Middlesbrough in a potential £10million deal (BBC), as lengthy knee injuries kept the 26-year-old on the sidelines for more than 100 days (TransferMarkt).
His confidence may have been knocked by this and the sarcastic jeers he received on occasion from the stands when missing chances in the warm-up, but Cotterill feels Bamford has his confidence back and has taken note of the added aggression the former England U21 international has shown in the opening games of the term.
“There’s more aggression in his play this season,” Cotterill told The Athletic. “That was maybe lacking last season, but on the occasions I’ve seen him so far, he’s been much harder to play against.
“There are always little extras you can look for or ask for, but at the end of the day, a striker who’s got everything costs £100million-plus. Leeds have a quality player there, and I reckon you’ll see that more and more.”
Bamford has certainly been a threat on the attack for Leeds this season, with the former Middlesbrough and Forest striker offering the Whites an outlet to connect the midfield and attack.
To be a more ideal target man, he has also improved his ball retention, with WhoScored noting that Bamford has lost possession through unsuccessful touches 1.8 times per ninety minutes less than in his maiden campaign at Elland Road, while his hold up play and runs to stretch defenders has often been praised.
However, Bamford has continued to struggle with his shot accuracy, and will need to convert a higher number of his chances this season, having spurned 2.2 of his 4.0 efforts per ninety minutes so far this term in the Championship.
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