Patrick Bamford facing similar scenario to Leeds United star of yesteryear with England - Daniel Chapman
I don’t know if this will make Pat Bamford feel any better, but when Lee Chapman scored 51 goals in two seasons after Leeds were promoted to the top flight, he didn’t go to the European Championships either.
Bamford still might, but if Gareth Southgate wants to take him, he’s got a funny way of showing it.
If it’s really that hard to choose between Bamford and Ollie Watkins, why not call them both up, watch them both in training, give them each minutes?
Southgate says he can’t call everybody up, but will he honestly need Harry Kane against San Marino?
Maybe the clear first choice could have sat this one out, while other questions were investigated.
At least Chapman got involved.
You can find photos of Chapman in an England shirt, playing his only game for England B, against Iceland at Maine Road in April 1991.
The B team was a sort of try-out squad, a chance for England’s coaches to work with players being considered for full honours, or on the fringes of the main squad.
The team that day had a Leeds United flavour.
David Batty was the only other call-up from Elland Road, but Tony Dorigo and Steve Hodge played, two World Cup veterans who joined Leeds later that summer, as did David White and, from the bench, Brian Deane, destined for Leeds in seasons to come.
But the lack of full England recognition for Leeds United’s players was a theme of the two seasons when they were establishing themselves as the best team in the country.
Chapman never got further than his England B cap and, while some now might wonder what else a 6ft 2in target man with the close control of a combine harvester might expect, he was entitled to expect a little more.
England’s manager was Graham Taylor, an exponent of the same direct football as Howard Wilkinson, and he always had Alan Smith in his squad, Arsenal’s version of Chapman.
It was the Watkins versus Bamford of 1992, suggesting an alternate reality where Gary Lineker’s international career is prolonged because, replacing him from the bench, Chapman gets the goals against Sweden to keep England in Euro ’92 that Alan Smith could not.
It wasn’t just Chappy.
Batty was taken forward and won 42 caps, while Dorigo was always back-up for Stuart Pearce.
But the rest of Wilko’s champions seemed cruelly overlooked.
John Lukic was the most extreme example, as much for the way he was ignored while winning trophies at Arsenal between his two spells with Leeds.
Ever present, ever consistent, and ever spoken of among the best goalkeepers in the game, Lukic didn’t add to the England Under-21 caps he won before 1981 until he was back at Leeds and got half an England B game, replacing Nigel Martyn, in 1990.
Others deserved a chance, too.
Aged 24, Chris Fairclough played in the Under-21 European Championships in 1988 – when he couldn’t stop Eric Cantona scoring twice for France – but, despite his title-winning form at Leeds, he was never asked back into the set-up.
Mel Sterland won an England cap in 1988 but, in the form of his life at Leeds, he was overlooked save for two tries with England B.
Rod Wallace, a big part of the U-21s, couldn’t improve on the England B game he played while with Southampton, despite the First Division winner’s medal around his neck at Leeds.
At least one good thing came from those U-21 and B matches – the photos.
Posters of Chapman and Wallace in their England shirts went straight on the wall.
This was the post Italia ’90 boom, when sympathy for Gazza’s tears brought football back into favour, when England were wearing their white, red and blue World In Motion shirts made by Umbro.
That was a big part of the fans’ desire for their clubs’ players to be called up – after years of hooliganism and disasters, the game was back in fashion, and who would look better in those open-collar Umbro outfits than classy Chris Fairclough?
Leeds ended the 1980s with a bang in Bournemouth, rioting on the eve of the World Cup that changed everything, and started the 1990s threatened with expulsion from the game’s exciting new world.
Our own shirts – Umbro again, with the Top Man sponsor logo – felt like an invite back to the party.
When the FA’s whispering secretary, Graham Kelly, warned Leeds that any more trouble would get the club closed down, I wonder if he added, sotto voce: “But you can stay if you’re good boys and wear those shirts.” Fine, deal.
But can you put Mel Sterland in a video with New Order, please?
Caps are nice but you can’t really put them on a wall.
Photos make memories, and that’s Bamford’s quest, to have that one forever photo in an England kit, blown up, framed, on the wall. Lee Chapman has one, even if it is England B.
Bamford should have one too.
Daniel Chapman has co-edited Leeds United fanzine and podcast The Square Ball since 2011, taking it through this season’s 30th anniversary, and seven nominations for the Football Supporters’ Federation Fanzine of the Year award, winning twice. He’s the author of a new history book about the club, ‘100 Years of Leeds United, 1919-2019’, and is on Twitter as MoscowhiteTSB.
A message from the Editor:
Leeds has a fantastic story to tell - and the Yorkshire Evening Post has been rooted firmly at the heart of telling the stories of our city since 1890.
We believe in ourselves and hope you believe in us too. We need your support to help ensure we can continue to be at the heart of life in Leeds.
Subscribe to our website and enjoy unlimited access to local news and information online and on our app.
With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content.
Click here to subscribe.
For more details on our newspaper subscription offers click here.
Thank you Laura Collins