'We are looking forward to seeing him play' - England boss Gareth Southgate drops strong Wembley hint for Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford
Gareth Southgate wants Patrick Bamford to replicate what he does for Leeds United in an England shirt.
Speaking ahead of this evening's game at Wembley against Andorra, the Three Lions boss dropped a strong hint that Bamford was in line for an international debut on what is his 28th birthday.
“It is a special moment for him and his family," said Southgate.
"You always think about the people who helped you on that journey when you get those opportunities but we want him to do what he does for his club."
Bamford's goalscoring exploits last season in the Premier League with Leeds brought him into the England conversation, although he missed out on call ups. Under Marcelo Bielsa he has become a more complete striker than the one Leeds signed from Middlesbrough for £7m, adding a relentless work-rate, defensive nous, improved hold-up play and physicality to his game.
Southgate has had a first chance to look at him in the England camp this week and likes what he sees. What he hopes is that Bamford enjoys the opportunity to represent his country and does what he's shown he can do in the top flight for Leeds.
“He has settled in really well with the group," said Southgate.
"He hasn’t had a huge amount of time to train with us yet but he has a really clear picture of how we like to play and it was good he was able to watch how the team play the other night at close quarters and get a feel for the expectations. We just want him to go and enjoy his football.
“The phrase you used [when asking the question] was opportunity and that is exactly what it is. He shouldn’t put any more pressure on himself than that. We know what he is capable of and we are looking forward to seeing him play.”
Southgate expects whoever comes into today's team, after a 4-0 win over Hungary in midweek, to maintain the standards that have been set during this training camp.
“Every time we train, every time we work together, there is a level of performance that is expected amongst us as a staff and group of players," he said.
“We have seen that since we got together again on Monday, you have to set the standards and there has to be a level of focus and humility – I mentioned before the game in Hungary that they are important qualities because it means then that the talent we have comes to the fore.
“So if we are working as hard as we should be, if we are mentally in the right place, then our talent can come to the fore.
“I think we have shown that over a consistent period of time. We are 14 or 15 matches without defeat [in 90 minutes]. It means as a group you gain confidence from various situations we have had to face in terms of being behind in games, ahead in games, tight games where you need to win late and everybody who comes in knows their job, everybody knows the way we play. So that is what we want every time we select a team and take the pitch.
“We have great trust in all of the squad so whenever we make changes to the team, we always get a good level of performance and a good level of focus.”