Journalist Darren Lewis has lauded Leeds forward Patrick Bamford for the way he has answered his critics this season.
Following Leeds United’s promotion last season, there were some doubts as to whether or not the 27-year-old would be good enough to play in the Premier League.
Former Leeds boss David O’Leary said that they needed to bring in a top-class centre-forward to replace him if they were to succeed. Given his poor record in the division before his spell with Leeds United, and the fact he didn’t have the greatest chance conversion rate at times last season (via @LUFCDATA), the criticism was perhaps merited.
But speaking on the TalkSPORT Gameday podcast, Lewis was full of praise for the way that Bamford, valued at £13.5m on Transfermarkt, has handled this campaign, despite coming in without the best of reputations.
He said: “I think what Bamford had set out to achieve this season, he’s achieved. I’ve got nothing but positive things to say about Bamford because people doubted that he could score goals in the top division and he’s gone on to do just that.
“And so as far as I’m concerned, this season has been a success. Every player in the final third, every striker drops off for a period in the Premier League. We know that, except for the very, very, very best ones. So I don’t read anything negative into what he’s done so far this season. I’ve been impressed and he’ll be pleased.”
Do you think Bamford deserves an England call-up?
Yes, he has been brilliant
No, he hasn't been that good
TIF Thoughts on Darren Lewis’ comments about Patrick Bamford this season…
Bamford’s success has certainly been one of the stories of the season, and Lewis’ comments reflect that. And whilst it is nice to see that he can actually play at this level provided he has the right system around him, the question now becomes whether or not Leeds stick with him if they are to move up the table.
His goals-per-shot record of 0.14 currently has him joint-47th in the league, so there is certainly room for improvement in that area if they decide to go down that road. The matter at hand now is whether they trust Bamford to improve his game, or if they bring in someone who is far more clinical to do the job instead.