'Really clever' - Leeds United man salutes Patrick Bamford and reveals pre-match message to striker

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Leeds United winger Dan James has saluted teammate and attacking partner Patrick Bamford for his role in the Whites' 3-0 victory over Wayne Rooney's Birmingham City on New Year's Day.

The Welshman scored Leeds' second in the three-goal win against the Blues, taking his individual tally to eight for the season but it was Bamford who stole the headlines with his first of the campaign, on his first start of 2023/24.

The experienced forward has had to settle for a place on the bench for much of the season with Joel Piroe and Georginio Rutter in good form, but with back-to-back defeats in United's two previous fixtures, Daniel Farke decided to deploy Bamford as the No. 9 with Rutter in behind. It paid dividends midway through the first half as James' pinpoint cross was nodded in by the 30-year-old from inside the six-yard box.

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"I thought Pat up top was brilliant today," James told LUTV at full-time. "It was nice, I said to him before the game I'd love to get him a goal today and thankfully I did. It's really good for his confidence."

Leeds' players mobbed the striker after scoring the game's opener while Elland Road serenaded Bamford with a rousing rendition of his trademark terrace chant.

"I like to cross it, I like to put it in that kind of area," James added. "Pat's always going to make that run, he always tells me, he's really clever with it. He makes it hard for them, even when they're playing five at the back, he stretches them and creates space for the tens to come and get it. Georgi [Rutter] played a different role today and I thought he was brilliant as well.

"He was great all over the pitch, it also creates a lot of space for me to get one-v-ones and that's what we want."

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James has been involved in 13 Championship goals this season, adding five assists to his own individual eight-goal haul. Bamford is finally off the mark and will be keen to add more over the coming weeks if Farke persists with his tweaked attacking approach.

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