Chelsea have one of the most impressive youth teams in English football. They also are one of the biggest users of the loan system in English football. Many of Chelsea’s loanees go unnoticed in world football. One player on loan who has caught the attention of many pundits is Patrick Bamford. Although Chelsea have Loic Remy, Didier Drogba and Diego Costa; Patrick Bamford is widely tipped to be given a chance next season.
A part of Aitor Karanka’s impressive Middlesbrough team, Bamford has been integral in getting Middlesbrough into the playoff race. Although Chelsea have constantly been criticised for their use of the loan system, if Bamford continues his current level of play, he will surely force Mourinho’s hand. With Costa’s constant hamstring issues, there is a strong chance for Bamford to make a break into the Chelsea squad. A young English striker, the future certainly looks bright for Bamford.
Who is Patrick Bamford?
Having been at Nottingham Forest since the age of 8, he progressed through the youth levels and made two appearances for the Forest first team. Although only playing a combined 13 minutes, Bamford attracted the interest of Chelsea and was subsequently bought in the 2012 January transfer window for £1.58 million. Immediately placed in Chelsea’s reserve squad for the season, Bamford followed his transfer with 5 goals and 4 assists in 7 appearances. The next season Bamford continued in the Chelsea U-21 team scoring 4 goals and 6 assists. Such were his performances that in November he was sent on loan to MK Dons for a short term loan deal.
Although at first only appearing sparingly, Bamford had his loan extended until the end of the 2012/13 season. Having scored 4 goals and adding 4 assists, Bamford earned another loan spell with MK Dons for 6 months at the beginning of the 2013/14 season. The 2013/14 season was Bamford’s break out year. During his 6 moth loan spell with MK Dons he scored 14 goals and made 2 assists in 23 appearances. Such was his superb form that speculation linking to a loan spell with a bigger club materialised with Bamford going to Derby Country and making his debut on 10th January against Leicester City. Although not played as a striker and deployed on the wing, he finished the season with a solid 8 goals and 3 assists in 21 appearances.
Due to Bamford’s steady progress at club level, he has progressed through the national teams. Although not having many appearances, Bamford has represented England at U-18, -19, and U-21 level. Although representing England at U-21 level and having a superb season he was once again loaned. Leading the line for Karanka’s Middlesbrough team, Bamford has gained widespread attention. Although the season has not yet finished Bamford has established himself as a top striker in the Championship. Having scored 14 goals and providing 4 assists, many in the football world are questioning when he will be given a chance for Chelsea. Furthermore, he has been called up to Gareth Southgate’s U-21 squad and although he recently pulled out, he should be a shoe in for the U-21 championship this summer.
Style of Play, Strengths and Weaknesses
Normally a lone striker or in a pair, he can also play either wing in a 4-3-3. Bamford also possesses impressive physical traits. Standing at 6’1”, he possesses good pace, reasonable strength and good ball skills. Most of all, he is an intelligent footballer. He makes good runs and is always thinking. He is happy to run in behind defenders for passes or make a run to the post for a cross. Too many young strikers nowadays rely on skill to beat players, when they could simply put themselves in the right areas. Furthermore, in the Premier League, he’ll need to develop his movement to have a chance, but he seems smart enough to be able to do this.
To follow his clever movement, Bamford is a good finisher. He has a clever knack of knowing where the goal is and often passes the ball in with his left foot. Moreover, he doesn’t smash the ball all the time, he looks relaxed and composed. This isn’t to say that he has no range to his power. He shoots well beyond the box although he’s not going to score 30-40 yard screamers, yet. Bamford is very comfortable with the ball. For a guy of his size it’s rare to see a player pick the ball up at the half way line and drive into space rather easily (something he did twice against Ipswich). He might not have the skill to beat players, but he can quite easily play one-twos to counter this; something more suitable to Premier League play. Speaking of his passing, Bamford is very comfortable during build up play although you would rather see him at the end.
One negative aspect is how relatively late it is for his senior debut, age wise. Yes he is 21, young for most other things, but he has yet to make his Chelsea debut. Next year will be big for him. He has a good chance of being in Southgate’s U-21 squad for the European Championships in the summer. However, another Championship loan will not help his progression. He has all the skills, but now needs Premier League experience. If Bamford can go to a good quality Premier League team I see him being a consistent goal scorer.
He has the potential to be a top quality player. He has every aspect needed to be a good goal scorer in the Premier League. Importantly, the lad is smart and has the willingness to score goals. Unfortunately I don’t see him playing for Chelsea for long. And that seems to be what most of the footballing world expects, with the youngster constantly linked with a move at transferrumours.co.uk, with another loan deal likely before the club let him go. I think for his own development he needs to be the main striker at a club and playing constantly. If the next year turns out okay, Bamford could become a very good Premier League player and maybe an England regular.
Written by Bill McLoughlin
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