'He's found a happy home' - Paul Cook provides Patrick Bamford insight amid England call-up hopes
In the English goalscoring charts this term, the 27-year-old’s record is bettered only by Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane and Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
Many have been surprised by Bamford’s form and former Wigan Athletic boss Cook has delivered his verdict on why he believes the striker is performing so highly.
He told Sky Sports’’ Football Show: “I think one of the big things for Patrick this season has been the ability to find space a lot more easily than he did in the Championship.
"Teams respected Leeds a lot in the Championship, they’d go to Elland Road and deny Leeds space in the final third i.e. by committing a lot of men in those areas.
"This year, teams in the Premier League are not disrespecting Leeds, that’s the wrong word because they’re not, no different than Sheffield United last year but they’re new and they’re fresh.
"I think teams will start setting up differently to counter what Leeds do. That way then, Patrick won’t be able to find the spaces that he’s finding now.”
Indeed, Bamford hadn’t scored in the top-flight before this season with Leeds during loan spells at Crystal Palace, Norwich City and Burnley.
As well as those three clubs, Bamford also had temporary spells at MK Dons, Derby County and Middlesbrough before joining the latter permanently in January 2017 from Chelsea.
Eighteen months later, Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds came calling, which Cook believes has given Bamford a “happy home” as he eyes a potential England call-up.
"He’s a good, classy finisher at times, you seen his finish last night, was just a finish of a striker full of confidence.
"If you’re an English striker, you’re playing for a top Premier League team and you’re scoring goals and Harry Kane can get injured now and again, the reality is, you must have a chance of knocking on that door.
"I think one of the big things for Patrick Bamford, you follow these lads careers, six loans I think it was at Chelsea before he goes up to Middlesbrough.
“He has been at Leeds for two, three seasons now and he looks like he has found a happy home. He looks like he has found a happy manager, happy teammates, and a happy club and it all adheres to a really good striker scoring goals and pushing for an England place.