Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford can qualify to play for the Republic of Ireland national team through his grandfather and after a great start to life in the Premier League for the West Yorkshire club, there have been suggestions recently that boss Stephen Kenny should be looking at him.
Despite receiving numerous amounts of criticism last season while playing in the Championship, due to the number of chances that he missed, the striker still racked up an impressive tally of 16 goals in a Leeds team that makes creating chances look easy.
While it might be a gamble to include Bamford in the Republic of Ireland national squad, there have been many instances in both life and business where gambles have paid off as football fans themselves will know. Gambling and football are closely related and with football-based slots from NetEnt such as the Champions Cup Slot, picking Bamford could be similar to hitting the jackpot.
Having cantered to the Championship title last season, Leeds have continued their fine form in the Premier League and that is largely in no small part, thanks to Bamford. With three impressive finishes in his club’s first three top flight games of the campaign, including a masterful strike against last season’s champions Liverpool, it seems that at long last, he really is starting to show his potential.
Could Marcelo Bielsa’s coaching of Bamford help Republic of Ireland?
Under the maverick Leeds boss [Marcelo] Bielsa, Bamford is clearly one player who has come on leaps and bounds under the Argentinian’s stewardship. A coach who is renowned for his extraordinary levels of detail, this is reflected in the way his team’s play, with a focus on high intensity and flowing football.
One area of Bamford’s game that has never been called into question is his work rate and willingness to put in the extra yard for his team. While he was criticised on many occasions for missing chances, there is also the argument that thanks to his endeavour, he was able to get into those positions. Something that Bielsa has no doubt drilled into him.
In addition to this, his physical nature means that he can bring other players into the game by being able to hold up the ball, while his aerial presence makes him a threat from attacking set-pieces, while he can also defend aerial deliveries for his own rearguard. Again, a trait that has undoubtedly been influenced by Bielsa.
Could this benefit the Republic of Ireland squad?
Currently, the national team have David McGoldrick who plays for fellow Premier League side Sheffield United (who Bamford bagged the winner against this season), however, at 32, question marks remain how long the Blades striker can keep on playing at the highest level.
Other options include Scott Hogan, who has shown promise but plays for Championship side Birmingham City, while Troy Parrott (Tottenham) is definitely one for the future.
With midfielders Conor Hourihane, Jeff Hendrick and James McCarthy, Republic of Ireland certainly have enough creativity in their team for Bamford to benefit. His progress under Bielsa will only carry on getting better and following Leeds United’s club record signing of Spain international striker Rodrigo, it appears that this has spurred the former Chelsea youth player on.
When should Kenny act?
Arguably, he should have been picked for the latest internationals. This is because if he continues his fine form for Leeds then Republic of Ireland could be in danger of losing him to England. It would be interesting to see who Bamford would opt for if he was given both choices.
However, England boss Gareth Southgate is arguably spoilt for choice in that area, with Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford and recent call-up Dominic Calvert-Lewin of Everton. This means that he would arguably have a much better chance of starting for Kenny’s side.