Middlesbrough v Leeds United: Patrick Bamford boosted by Marcelo Bielsa as striker eyes 'good future' in Premier League with Whites

PATRICK Bamford admits the faith of Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa has given the striker a definite confidence boost ahead of his full Whites league debut with the striker confident of thriving in the Premier League at Elland Road.

Friday, 8th February 2019, 11:42 am
Updated Saturday, 9th February 2019, 9:30 am
CHALLENGED: Patrick Bamford on his return against Norwich City.

Bamford returned from a second knee injury sooner than expected when named on the bench for last weekend's Championship hosting of Norwich City, despite Bielsa earlier declaring that the £7m striker would first need an outing for United's under-23s.

Bielsa, though, challenged Bamford to immediately return against the Canaries by impressing in training - admitting he would rather throw the forward back into the first team without playing for the under-23s and the assignment was one that Bamford relished.

Bamford is now set to finally make his full Whites league debut this weekend in Saturday's Championship clash against his former side Middlesbrough.

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"At any team, at any level and at any club, when the manager speaks to you and puts a bit of faith in you almost, it gives you that extra bit of confidence," said Bamford.

"If you are lacking it or even if you weren't, it just gives you that little boost and it does mean a lot.

"Some players might say it doesn't matter what anyone says to me and it doesn't effect me but there's always going to be that little bit of a confidence boost."

Explaining how and when he came to discovering that he would be returning to the fold against Norwich, Bamford revealed: "On a Wednesday we do like an 11 v 11 but in a shorter time frame and Marcelo came up to me before and told me that how I did that day would decide whether I would need more time with the 23s or whether I would be involved against Norwich.'

"He said 'I don't want you to play for the 23s, I want you to be involved against Norwich but we will see how you do.'

"I was like 'okay no pressure then' so I tried to do what I could in that time and he said to me after 'how did you feel' and I said I felt fine no problem.

"He asked if I got all of the running out of it that I needed and I said yes I think so, I maybe could have done a little bit more running in certain segments and he said 'okay good we'll speak tomorrow.'

"I was thinking what does that mean but he obviously perceived that I was ready!

"If I'm being honest I am probably not fully fit in terms of match sharpness.

"I think I only had two proper training sessions before the last game but it was nice being back out there and I think it's one of them where I am only going to get the match sharpness back by playing in the matches

"It's probably going to take a few to get up to full speed but I am looking forward to it."

After being brought on in the 63rd minute, Bamford went on to net his third goal of the season when heading home a Barry Douglas corner in added time, to at least save Leeds from a 3-0 home defeat.

Having previously been absent since the 1-0 win at Bolton on December 15, the striker admits he will take several games to reach full fitness but the forward is relishing the prospect of returning to the side and is thriving on life under Bielsa.

Asked if he felt he had found a manager in Bielsa that suited the way he played, Bamford admitted: "I think so.

"No disrespect intended to English coaches, but for me personally I seem to get on best with coaches who are either foreign or have a foreign mentality.

"When I was at MK Dons it was different because with Karl Robinson he was more of a coach and he'd spend a lot of time with me one on one and tried developing me one on one in that way.

"And then obviously I had time with Steve McClaren who had spent time abroad so there was kind of a different style to training, a different approach and then with Aitor (Karanka) at Middlesbrough I got on really well with him.

"I think it's not so much that my style doesn't suit English coaches, but there's just something about me and that different way of looking at things that seems to click and I think that might have been one of the reasons that Marcelo put faith in me.

"Obviously Victor (Orta) was at Middlesbrough with Aitor and so Aitor knew me well and I don't know whether they spoke but I think that might have helped and hopefully I can thrive under Marcelo."

Bamford added: "For me personally, the next step is to get Leeds promoted, to help get the team promoted and then it's down to me then to show it in the Premier League.

"I think I have shown it in the Championship and I had a go at the Premier League - I didn't play as much as I would have liked and I still think that I had more to offer.

"I think that given a chance, especially if we go up with this team, with this unit and everyone together, I think that it could be a good future ahead of me and the team."