'I am happy' - Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa reacts to Patrick Bamford's call up for England
Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa is delighted to see striker Patrick Bamford earn a 'deserved' call up for England.
The 27-year-old played for his country at youth level and was involved in Gareth Southgate' s Under 21 set-up but has never before made the step up to the senior side.
Last season's goalscoring exploits in the Premier League put him on the fringes of Southgate's plans for the Euros but Aston Villa's Ollie Watkins was preferred for the provisional squad before being cut before the tournament. Southgate declared Bamford 'unfortunate' to have missed out.
Watkins missed Villa's last game through injury Three Lions boss has decided the time is now right to take a look at Bamford in his September squad, with World Cup qualifying games against Hungary, Andorra and Poland.
Southgate praised Bamford's development at Leeds under Bielsa when revealing his squad yesterday and the Whites head coach today credited the striker for an achievement he has worked for.
"I am happy," said Bielsa.
"I think he has made a lot of effort to be called up and finally he has managed to achieve it. From my point of view he deserves it and I hope this is the start of his evolution as a player as an international."
While Bamford's game has continued to revolve around qualities he already had before signing for Leeds from Middlesbrough the same summer that Bielsa himself arrived, there have been marked improvements in certain areas. His defensive play and pressing ability has been a big part of Leeds' success, while he showed improvement in his hold-up play and in physical battles with defenders in his second season at Elland Road.
In the Premier League last season it was his finishing that shone, however, with 17 goals in 38 games. Bielsa believes that has been key to how Bamford is now viewed as a striker.
"I think the main characteristics he has have always been the same ones and the fact that he increases his effectiveness has had a good consequence on the valuation of his game," said Bielsa.
"There are centre forwards who have few chances at goal and ones who have plenty of chances. Bamford usually has chances during the games and for him to improve his range of efficiency has been an important step."