Patrick Bamford. Where to start with this guy.
Chelsea spent £1.5m on the then 18 year old after just 12 minutes of first-team football for Nottingham Forest, following scintillating displays in the FA Youth Cup – scoring 9 goals over two rounds (four goals in a 5-1 win at Southampton and five in the previous round – a 9-1 hammering of Wigan) meant the London club spent big on a prospective attacking midfielder or striker – a ‘centre forward’. Since moving to Chelsea, the youngster has been on loan at MK Dons, Derby and finally a season long loan at Middlesbrough which has lead to his nomination for both Young Player of the Year as well as Championship Player of the Year.
Slightly different for Bamford, given he’s been farmed out on loan by the youngster-averse Chelsea FC – But he has excelled in the league, wherever he has been. Bamford is a player who thrives in the box – His pace, good feet and excellent finishing makes him a formidable asset to have. Boro have utilised him often behind a striker, and Bamford often overlaps to chase onto a flick on. Karanka’s system of patient, calm football means opponents are worn down before Bamford pulls his pacy party trick out of the bag – He twice made Tommy Smith of Ipswich look a fool as he cleverly outpaced the New Zealander to slot home two very good goals.
Like Deeney, Bamford does a lot of his work within the 18-yard box. He loves to finish into the bottom right hand corner, as his two goals against Ipswich showed. Leadbitter, Reach and Lee Tomlin have all assisted 3 Bamford goals each, whilst Bamford himself has contributed to 5 goals in addition to his 17 (unsure why Squawka are only showing 16 in 36.. Dubious goals?)
Bamford’s contribution of 17 goals is 27% of the total of 64 goals scored by Boro this term, and the Chelsea loanee has contributed 25 key passes, and taken 93 shots.
So, Patrick Bamford has played the least amount of minutes than the other two nominated for Player of the Season. Bamford has no doubt shown glimpses of real talent, and for me should be given a run in the Chelsea side (He probably won’t) but his inconsistent use as well as wider contribution to the team has been arguably less so than other players within the Championship. Many fans and players may feel slightly hard done by the inclusion of Bamford in a top 3 for the second tier of English football – but none will doubt the talent the youngster has.