WELL DESERVED: Leeds striker deserves England call-up says Bielsa
Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa has refused to take any credit for striker Patrick Bamford’s England call-up.
Bamford has been included in the Three Lions’ senior squad for the first time for next month’s three World Cup qualifiers against Hungary, Andorra and Poland.
Bielsa said: “If I thought I had merit in that I would tell you.
“But sincerely, I see everything from the inside and I assure you, it’s what he’s done that has made him evolve and resulted in him being called up.”
Bamford proved his critics wrong by finishing last season as the second-highest scoring Englishman in the Premier League behind Harry Kane with 17 goals.
Mohamed Salah and Bruno Fernandes were the only other players to score more than Bamford, who narrowly missed out on England selection for Euro 2020.
England coach Gareth Southgate said after naming his latest squad that the 27-year-old’s progress under Bielsa “has been excellent”.
Bamford’s seven assists last season and one this time around have placed him in the Premier League’s top 10, and joint fifth among English players.
Bielsa said: “I’m happy. I think he’s made a lot of effort to be called up and finally he has achieved it. From my point of view he deserves it. I hope it’s the start of his evolution as an international player.”
The Argentinian said Bamford’s improved conversion rate was a big factor in his call-up.
“The fact that he’s increased his effectivity has had a good consequence on the evaluation of his game,” Bielsa added.
“There are centre-forwards who have few chances at goal and some who have plenty of chances.
“Bamford usually has chances during the games and for him to have improved his range of efficiency has been an important step.”
Bamford was on the bench for the midweek Carabao Cup win against Crewe and is expected back in the starting line-up for Sunday’s Premier League game at Burnley.
Leeds, who have taken one point from their first two league matches, won 4-0 on their previous visit to Turf Moor in May.
Rodrigo scored twice in an impressive display in that win and will be hoping to continue after his recall to the starting line-up against Crewe.
Bielsa said Adam Forshaw and Diego Llorente had both come through unscathed after returning from injury on Tuesday night, but Robin Koch remained doubtful due to a pubis injury.
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