Former Premier League striker Charlie Austin believes biases towards certain clubs still exist within the England camp – and named Patrick Bamford as the latest victim.
Bamford was left out of England’s squad for the current international break despite his strong form with Leeds. This season, he has 14 goals and six assists from 29 Premier League games. However, Gareth Southgate opted to call up Aston Villa frontman Ollie Watkins instead.
Southgate did consider Bamford, but the Leeds striker will be staying at home instead. He will have to continue his impressive form to convince his international manager otherwise between now and the end of the season.
Many feel Bamford does not deserve to have been overlooked, though. Now, Austin has joined that group, claiming the 27-year-old has found himself in a similar predicament to the one he was once in.
Austin scored 18 Premier League goals for QPR despite them suffering relegation in 2014-15. He was called up to the England squad for two international fixtures at the end of that season, but did not play in either.
Now back at QPR, on loan from West Brom, Austin has sympathised with Bamford for his omission from the squad.
The striker claims players at the biggest clubs still get preferential treatment from the England setup.
“I think that goes against a lot of people,” Austin told talkSPORT.
“That’s going against Patrick Bamford right now, because that’s football snobbery. It’s just the way it is. Sometimes faces don’t fit.
“What has he done not to be called up?
“There is (favouritism to bigger clubs). Eric Dier has been called up, has he done enough to be called up? Or are you calling him up because he plays for Tottenham?”
Bamford absence explained by Southgate
When announcing his squad in the buildup to the international break, Southgate claimed Bamford was still in his thoughts.
“(Bamford was) very close,” Southgate told Sky Sports. “There’s a number of positions in this squad that have been really close calls and we felt we wanted an extra striker.
“We’re really pleased with Harry (Kane) and (Dominic) Calvert-Lewin and what they’ve done. Tammy Abraham hasn’t really been involved for Chelsea over the last four to six weeks.
“And both Ollie and Patrick in particular, their goals record has been good. We like the personalities of both. Ollie is a player we’ve had less interaction with in the past. It’s going to be good to get to know him.
“We like his pressing, the speed and the runs in behind. He’s got some improvement to make in linking the game, but in his first season in the Premier League at a big club, he’s done exceptionally well.
“That’s been a really close call because all the things I’ve said about Ollie I could have said for Patrick as well. So he’s very unfortunate.”