Leeds United's Patrick Bamford keeping England dream alive
Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford has set his heart on playing for England at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Despite scoring 17 goals and adding even assists in the Whites’ Premier League return, the 27-year-old missed out on a place in Gareth Southgate’s Euro 2020 squad.
The England boss described Bamford as ‘very unfortunate’ to not be selected for the March international games and when Southgate named his 33-man provisional squad on June 4 the Leeds man was not included.
Instead Southgate included Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Manchester United youngster Mason Greenwood and Ollie Watkins of Aston Villa among his supporting cast for captain and first-choice striker Harry Kane.
By the time the final squad was announced, Greenwood had withdrawn through injury and Watkins did not make the cut.
Bamford, who has openly spoken about what a dream it would be to represent his country, has been keeping a close eye on the tournament and swatting up on Europe’s top strikers, including Karim Benzema of France and Real Madrid.
“Some games I’ll watch and just watch the strikers,” he said.
“I enjoyed watching Benzema, I was looking forward to seeing how he did back with France for the first time in a while. He’s so clever, so intelligent. Normal fans probably don’t pick up on the things a striker is doing, but when you look for it as a striker yourself.”
Bamford could rightly consider himself among the elite last season, when it came to goal contributions. Kane was the only Englishman to rack up more goals and assists in the top flight and the Leeds man outscored both Calvert-Lewin and Watkins.
The part he played in Leeds’ top-half Premier League finish silenced the majority of his doubters and put him squarely in the international conversation, but the goals, assists and talk ultimately did not equate to a call-up.
His Euro 2020 disappointment has made him only more determined to make the dream come true.
“I’m really demanding,” he said.
“If I push to achieve something and I haven’t done it then I put more onus on myself to get there next time.
“Next time, hopefully for me, I want to try and get to the World Cup.
“This was my big thing this year.”
He knows it will take something even more special than what he achieved in 2020/21, but his mentality is always to try and do more.
“I’ve got to do what I can to try and replicate the season, in fact improve it because, for me, there needs to be that constant progression,” he said.
“What I did last year was obviously very good but I’ve got to build on it and improve. I want to do better.”