Tyler Roberts reflects on Patrick Bamford's Euros omission and Leeds United striker's finishing
TYLER Roberts sees his long term future as a no 9 - and is determined to learn from Leeds United's current one.
Roberts is approaching his fourth full season at Leeds and has been used in a variety of positions since his arrival at the club from West Brom in January 2018.
Whites head coach Marcelo Bielsa has predominantly fielded the 22-year-old as a no 10 but has also played the Wales international forward upfront in what Roberts says is his natural role.
Roberts has also previously been deployed out wide at Leeds but sees his longer term as a centre forward and fulfilling the same role that Patrick Bamford has been thriving in for the Whites.
Roberts is a huge fan of Bamford and believes England boss Gareth Southgate made a mistake in not taking the 27-year-old striker to the Euros.
The Whites no 9 finished the 2020-21 Premier League season joint fourth in the division's Golden Boot standings having netted 17 times - a feat which made him the second highest scoring Englishman in the top tier.
Roberts says Bamford's movement alone helped him to around an extra half dozen in that tally and is now looking to add such a dimension to his own game.
"In terms of Premier League strikers he has to be up there because of this season," said Roberts on the Beautiful Game Podcast.
"He has somebody that I have to learn off because I think what I need to get better is my movement in the box and that's what he has got on point.
"So many of his goals have come from getting across defenders and little tap ins or just getting across the front post.
"It's probably got him an extra five, six, seven goals this season.
"Over my career I would like to say I will be a no 9, a striker, because I have grew up kind of learning that position and it's only been the last few years really that I have learnt the no 10 position.
"But I think that has been good for me and the right thing because no 9 you know it is a big pressure and you have to be scoring goals.
"I've been young and still learning the game so to play in the no 10 position where I don't have to be the one to hold the ball up all the time and I have been able to kind of learn and be a no 9 and a no 10 so it's been good."
Roberts ended the 2020-21 campaign with a bang and finally bagged his first Premier League goal in the 2-0 victory at Southampton.
Bamford's movement is one element of the striker's game that Roberts is looking to copy - and his finishing is another.
"It's elegance," said Roberts.
"He hits it clean. It's like a baseball bat or something, it's just clean.
"Patrick is just a proper chilled out guy.
"He's great to be around and he's kind of somebody that had a lot of criticism in the Championship and stuff like that but he's in the Prem now and I think he has just taken it in his stride really.
"As soon as he came to the club, his finishing is A1, his finishing is on point.
"There's videos that have come out of training and stuff but his finishing is very good so it wasn't a surprise to anybody at the club as well that he scored these kind of goals.
"It was more like just getting the opportunities and then having the confidence to kind of consistently put goals away and he's done it."
Seventeen of them was still not enough to put Bamford in Southgate's England squad - and Wales international Roberts feels the Three Lions boss made the wrong call.
"I know I think he should have got the England call," said Roberts.
"He scored that many goals, he's up on the top scorers list and it was unfortunate obviously that he didn't.
"But he wasn't even angry about it. He's just not that person so he just carried on working hard and hopefully he will get that call."
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Thank you Laura Collins