Ireland boss Mick McCarthy 'refusing to chase' Leeds United's Patrick Bamford over international future
Mick McCarthy has cast doubt over the possibility of Patrick Bamford committing to the Republic of Ireland by admitting he will no longer attempt to talk the Leeds United striker into playing for him.
McCarthy warned Bamford that he was “not going chasing him anymore” after failing to convince the forward to pin his colours to the Republic’s mast.
Bamford was approached by McCarthy after the former Ipswich Town manager replaced Martin O’Neill as the Republic’s boss but has so far declined to link up with the Irish squad.
The pair spoke before the end of the recent Championship season, at which stage Bamford told McCarthy that he would delay a decision on whether to represent the Republic while Leeds were fighting for promotion to the Premier League.
Bamford was absent from the players chosen by McCarthy for European qualifiers against Denmark and Gibraltar this week and while McCarthy left the door open for Bamford to take up the offer of a first international cap, he will leave the 25-year-old to consider his next move.
“I’m not going chasing him anymore,” McCarthy said. “It was left on the back-burner and I think it’s up to Patrick.
“If he rings me up and he wants to play then yes. But let me ask you a question. If you’re an Irish player and you thought you were good enough to play for Ireland, what would you do?
"Would you pick the phone up? That’s what I did. If he wants to play he’s got to (pick up his phone).”
Bamford is 12 months into a four-year contract at Leeds and the offer from McCarthy to play for the Republic came at a time when he was attempting to finding his feet with United after two knee ligament injuries.
Leeds invested £7m in the signing of Bamford from Middlesbrough last summer but were barely able to use him until February. Bamford, despite his fitness concerns and criticism of some of his performances, finished the season with 10 goals.
McCarthy said in March that he expected the forward to make himself available this summer. “He just wants to concentrate on promotion with Leeds,” McCarthy said.
“I can understand that. He’s in the team and he’s scoring goals and Leeds want to get promoted.
“Things can upset you, I get it. He comes to meet me about playing, all of a sudden he doesn’t score, then he gets left out. Footballers can be sensitive to outside influences.
"He could be in the Premier League with Leeds next season and he doesn’t want anything to disturb that. I’ll speak to him in the summer.”
Bamford will remain prominent in Marcelo Bielsa’s squad next season as United’s head coach tries to resolve the goalscoring issues which hindered Leeds in the Championship.
Bielsa installed Kemar Roofe as first choice ahead of Bamford but Roofe’s retention depends heavily on Leeds securing an extension to his contract at Elland Road.
The striker’s deal expires next summer and he will seek parity with Bamford, one of United’s highest earners, as part of negotiations with the club.
Roofe is yet to be made a formal offer and has been abroad on holiday in the USA. He and Leeds’ senior squad are expected to start pre-season training with Bielsa at Thorp Arch a week on Monday.