'His progress with Leeds United has been excellent' - Gareth Southgate on Patrick Bamford's England call up
Patrick Bamford's first senior England call up is a 'fabulous moment' for the Leeds United striker and his family, says Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate.
Today's squad announcement revealed the Whites striker's presence in the senior national team for the first time, after a stellar season in the Premier League with Leeds.
Although top flight performances that brought 17 goals and seven assists in 38 games were not enough to earn Bamford a place in Southgate's plans for the Euro 2020 tournament, he admitted this summer that his international dream was still alive and the 2022 World Cup was his aim.
Southgate reiterated how close the 27-year-old came to selection last season and says his first call up, for games against Hungary, Andorra and Poland, is a chance to impress.
"There was an opportunity for us in the forward areas," said Southgate.
"We were very pleased with what Ollie Watkins did at the end of last season, and now is an opportunity for Patrick as a number nine as well. His progress with Leeds has been excellent, it was a very close thing at the end of the last season with us, and this is a good chance for him to come back in."
"We worked with him at Under 21 level so we know him anyway, so a fabulous moment for him and his family," added Southgate.
Bamford is joined by Harry Kane, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Raheem Sterling among Southgate's attacking options, but there is no place for Manchester United's Mason Greenwood.
The youngster, who scored for the Red Devils in a 5-1 win over Leeds on the opening day of the season and would be considered one of Bamford's direct rivals for an England spot, will be better served by remaining with his club on this occasion, Southgate said.
"Mason is in our thoughts," he said.
"We're all aligned, Mason, the club, his family and us. The best thing for him after these first few games is to stay with his club. It's clear on his performances he'd warrant being in the squad."