Paul Merson responds to 'daft' Jeff Stelling question on 'outstanding' Leeds player
Paul Merson has argued that Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford will already be on Gareth Southgate’s radar for an England call-up.
The 27-year-old has been in top form this season, scoring 11 times in 21 Premier League outings so far.
The Elland Road forward’s most recent strike came in the 3-1 win against Leicester City last weekend – a game in which he also recorded two assists, and which England manager Southgate happened to be in the stands for.
Reflecting on that match on Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday, host Jeff Stelling said: “I want to concentrate in particular on Patrick Bamford.
"In that game, it was in front of Gareth Southgate. It might sound daft to suggest, but did he do enough maybe to earn a chance for England?”
Pundit Clinton Morrison replied: “It’s a difficult one.
"England have a lot of strikers, maybe five or six, but he’s done himself no harm. I thought he was unplayable.
"His finish was top drawer. I can’t tell you how hard it is to finish like that into the top corner. The technique is ridiculous.
"I thought he led the line brilliantly as a proper centre-forward.”
Stelling pushed the issue further, adding: “He gives you something a bit different as well. He’s got that subtlety about him.
"When I asked about England, when you look back to the strikers we took to the World Cup – Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy, Marcus Rashford, and Danny Welbeck was the fourth striker there.
"I’m just thinking now, if you looked at Kane, Rashford, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, probably Danny Ings – what if one of them got injured? Would he then come into the reckoning?”
Merson then responded: “I think he’s on the radar now, I seriously do.
"The big advantage is that he plays up there on his own. He makes unbelievable runs which you don’t see, because they don’t really hit the killer ball, Leeds.
"The best part of the whole of that match for him? The last goal [Bamford’s assist for Jack Harrison].
“If I’m the manager of England, that’s what I like.
"I’m going, ‘You know what? That kid is a team player’. He’s not interested in himself and his stats, he’s interested in winning football matches.
"I thought he was absolutely outstanding, and he is getting better.”