Jermaine Beckford compares Leeds United no 9 role past and present to Patrick Bamford
JERMAINE BECKFORD is well placed to comment on the Leeds United no 9 role.
The forward enjoyed 152 appearances in a Whites shirt encompassing 85 goals.
Were he still playing, Beckford would have fancied his chances of adding substantially to that tally, such are the number of chances created by Marcelo Bielsa’s side.
Yet Beckford has been impressed by the contribution of the man operating in the role he filled formerly owing to Patrick Bamford’s all-round game.
Nearly 10 years have passed since Beckford pulled on a Whites shirt for the last time with the striker’s last goal for the club firing Leeds out of League One as the striker bagged the winner in the 2-1 success at home to Bristol Rovers in May 2010.
But five years at Elland Road proved infectious with Beckford now a Whites fan and desperately hoping his former side can end a 16-year exile from the Premier League and seal promotion at the end of their centenary term.
Quite when United will be back on the pitch remains the ‘million-dollar question’ with the EFL season still suspended amidst the country’s ongoing battle with coronavirus.
Beckford is missing the beautiful game badly – both as a player and now as a fan – but the 36-year-old says United are in safe hands with regards to his former position with Bamford leading the line.
“It’s a massive role and there is so much pressure that comes with wearing that no 9 Leeds shirt,” Beckford told The YEP.
“The first thing you are expected to bring to the club is goals first and foremost, work rate and goals.
"Patrick has scored 13 so he is not shy in front of goal but, if you look at when he is not playing, we don’t create as many chances as we do when he is playing so he is a vital cog in the wheel.
"He links up play really well and his hold-up play over the last 12 months has been massive, it’s improved so much.
“His work rate is brilliant, he’s putting himself about and he’s getting himself in positions that helps the team massively but he is underestimated for his work rate.
“Nobody really talks about what he brings to the team and I only really tend to hear people saying ‘oh well he has not scored again, that’s another game he hasn’t scored in’.
“But the thing is he is getting himself into goal-scoring positions. Sometimes the goalkeeper is in a great position, sometimes he hits the woodwork, sometimes he mis-hits it.
"But the thing that I admire about him is he doesn’t stop.
“He doesn’t let a miss get to him and he will continue trying.
"He will try and get into another position where he can find himself in front of goal to try and get another shot off and if not he is going to bring somebody else in.”
Bamford and the rest of the Whites squad have been training from home with the squad now 'on holiday' with the EFL having earmarked May 16 as a possible date for clubs to return to training.
The EFL hope to fulfil their remaining fixtures over the summer months, working on the assumption that games are played behind closed doors.
Beckford has always missed his playing days since retiring last year and now he’s merely longing to be back in the stands as a fan.
“I miss it so, so much, honestly,” said the former striker.
“On match days I miss the adulation, I miss scoring goals, I miss winning games and all of that sort of stuff I do miss desperately.
"But I am a massive fan now as well and that is the other side of it that I have not really been able to enjoy fully while you are playing because you have got to stay professional to an extent.
“You can’t really celebrate like a lunatic and now I am able to really embrace it and immerse myself with the whole of the support base fully without actually having to worry about stepping on toes, saying the wrong thing to the wrong person about the wrong person.
“I can judge people, within reason, and give an explanation as to why I think this about players and what they should and shouldn’t be doing. I am really enjoying it.”
Not, though, as much as he would be enjoying it if he were still up front. Assessing what it would have been like to have played for Bielsa’s Leeds, Beckford smiled: “It would be amazing.
"The type of football they play is my type of football, attacking football, counter-attacking football, the build-up play, intricate passing.
"There’s all sorts that goes into it and I would have absolutely loved it.”
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