At 27 years of age, it’s fair to say Patrick Bamford is a late bloomer.
Bought by Chelsea from Nottingham Forest in 2012 for a fee of just under £2m, the now Leeds United striker was seen as one of the more exciting English prospects at the time.
Unfortunately, he never managed to fully break through at Stamford Bridge, and a seemingly endless series of loans ensued, as tends to be the norm with the Blues, until Middlesbrough, who loaned him for the 2014-15 season, decided to save him in January 2017 against a fee of £6.2m.
There, he quickly made a name for himself once again, which led to Leeds United, now managed by Marcelo Bielsa, to spend £7m on him in 2018.
Two full seasons later, and Bamford is finally showing his full potential, taking the Premier League by storm with six goals in his first six games, including a hat-trick against Aston Villa not too long ago.
His is a story of perseverance and belief in his own ability, and for a couple of his old teammate at Milton Keynes (where he spent two years on loan) and Middlesbrough, this explosion hasn’t come as a surprise.
Speaking to So Foot, Mathias Kouo-Doumbé, who played with Bamford at MK Dons, said: “I found him incredible. He could finish with both feet, he was technically right. He was importantly always moving. Amazing! He was clinical, always giving his all: from the first game onwards, he won his spot.
“He wasn’t here to show he came from Chelsea. He gave it his all. He wasn’t arrogant. He was nice. We went to get drinks, but it’s true he’s intelligent”.
The same applies to Rudy Gestede, who played with Bamford at Middlesbrough.
He said: “He’s someone with a lot of qualities, but he was a bit weird. Capable of the best and the worst. We knew he had magic inside him, but the confidence wasn’t always there. He’s someone who needs to feel the love of his manager.”
That’s exactly what he’s getting at Leeds, where it’s no secret Bielsa is a big fan, and it’s showing on the pitch.
He might be a late bloomer, but better late than never, right?