Leeds United supporters have been heavily critical of Patrick Bamford of late, but the 26-year-old striker warrants more praise than he currently receives despite struggling in front of goal over the past weeks.
Whites fans flocked to social media over the weekend to slam Marcelo Bielsa for continually fielding the Grantham-born forward over Arsenal loanee Eddie Nketiah, with many pointing to his missed effort in the 46th-minute as a key moment that Bamford allowed to go to waste against Derby County on Saturday.
The Yorkshire Evening Post were also underwhelmed by Bamford’s day in front of the Rams’ goal, and awarded the former Middlesbrough man a six out of ten for his efforts as he should have at least rippled the net on one occasion.
Bamford not scoring against Derby made it three second-tier fixtures without a goal for the former England U21 international, and a total of four goals from 32 shots, 12 of which have been on target, per WhoScored.
But it is in Bamford’s tireless work rate that sees the 6ft striker be an unsung hero of Bielsa’s plans, and likely why the Argentine opts against rotating his attacking line-up to field Nketiah as the spearhead of the Whites’ strike force in the Championship.
Former Leeds striker Jermaine Beckford recently hailed Bamford for his ability to hassle opposition defences, and create the opening for Nketiah to come on and strike.
“They’re two completely different players, and at the moment it’s working really well,” he said, via quotes by the Yorkshire Evening Post.
“Patrick Bamford is putting in a lot of work and putting the defenders under lots and lots of pressure, constantly for the 65, 70 minutes he plays, then Eddie comes on for the last 20, 25, when the defenders are worn out and tired.
“He’s full of energy, full of beans, his movement is fantastic, [and] not to mention his confidence in front of goal and his confidence levels, for someone so young.”
Nketiah could not do his bit against Derby and strike his third league goal of the campaign (WhoScored) once off the bench, and in truth, Leeds struggled in attack without Bamford on the field.
Up until Bamford’s departure to make way for Nketiah, the 26-year-old had struck five shots – more than any player involved in the Derby game – but the quality of his efforts was more so the factor which let him down.
Bamford also held a 75% pass accuracy rating, played one key pass, won one of three aerial duels and completed one of two attempted dribbles, while winning two tackles and recording one clearance, to show his all-round ability.
Once off the field in the 79th minute, though, Leeds failed to record any shots on Kelle Roos’ net, while Nketiah also fashioned no attempted dribbles, tackles or aerial duels as Derby found their late equaliser.
Leeds fans, would Bamford’s efforts be seen in a better light in a two-man attack if Nketiah were scoring all the goals? Let us know what you think in the comments below…Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more Leeds United notifications!