Patrick Bamford shows Gareth Southgate what he’s missing in Fulham win

Patrick Bamford shows Gareth Southgate what he’s missing in Fulham win

Are you watching, Gareth Southgate?

With Callum Wilson, Tammy Abraham and Danny Ings all injured, this looked like the perfect chance for the England boss to take a closer look at Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford in his search for a backup to Harry Kane.

But no.

Gareth SouthgateGareth Southgate
Southgate went for Watkins over Bamford | Robin Jones/Getty Images

Instead of Bamford, Southgate gave the third striker spot to Aston Villa’s Ollie Watkins. While he’s obviously a good striker, he’s not the fourth top scorer in the Premier League. That’s a spot saved for Bamford.

Clearly harbouring some frustration towards the decision, Bamford arrived at Craven Cottage on Friday night intent on making an impact – and that’s exactly what he did.

Bamford was involved in both of Leeds‘ goals in their comfortable 2-1 victory over Fulham. He opened the scoring with an emphatic half-volley midway through the first half, perhaps picturing Southgate’s head instead of the ball, before turning creator for Raphinha’s deciding goal later on.

It was a complete performance from Leeds’ main man, and Bamford was prepared to put in the dirty work and fight for his chances – something Southgate’s England squad could do with more of.

While nobody is really campaigning for Bamford (or anyone else) to start ahead of Kane, the reserve spot is very much up for grabs. Southgate seems intent on giving it to Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who began the season well but has managed just three goals in his last 14 Premier League games.

He’s not in form, neither is Watkins, and truth be told, Kane isn’t in the greatest touch right now. Selecting Bamford should have been a simple decision, but it’s one Southgate somehow managed to get wrong – much like he’s done in the past with the likes of Jack Grealish.

While his omission might set up a dull international break, England’s loss is most probably Leeds’ gain. Bamford has been dealing with a number of knocks and niggles of late, and picked up a fresh problem against Fulham which forced him off towards the end of the game.

To be honest, he could probably do with a rest.

Bamford now has chance to rest | MATT DUNHAM/Getty Images

Ultimately, it’s a rest he shouldn’t have had the chance to get, as Bamford deserves to be strutting his stuff on the international stage. But every cloud has a silver lining; once he’s fit and back to 100% fitness, the former Chelsea striker will have another chance to win Southgate over – preferably before this summer’s delayed European Championships.

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