Leeds forward Patrick Bamford says he’s dreaming of an England call-up he didn’t think would be possible at the start of the season, after scoring his 100th career goal in a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace in the Premier League.
The strike against his former loan club doubled the lead for Marcelo Bielsa’s side, after Jack Harrison’s third minute opener, to help move his team into the top half of the table.
Bamford’s goal was his 12th in the top flight this campaign, after many fans and pundits doubted whether he could make the step up from the Championship.
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“If you had said that at the start of the season, I would have brushed it off and said you’re mad”, Bamford told Sky Sports about the possibility of being named in Gareth Southgate’s squad next month.
“But now, people talk about it and it’s good if you’re getting talked about. There’s four of five strikers who’ve not really been involved with England a lot of times and they’re all doing really well.
I think it’s going to be interesting to see who does get called up and to be honest, if I do or if I don’t, I know I’ve done my best and I think whoever does get called up fully deserves it, whether it’s me or any of the others.
Bamford also heaped praise on Raphinha, who joined from Rennes last summer and dazzled once again.
“He’s been a steal for Leeds”, said Bamford.
“As soon as he came in, we saw him in training, you know sometimes with players if they’re good and top class - and he really was, he stood out straight away.
I’m surprised the bigger teams - the more established Premier League teams - haven’t taken a punt on him because he really is something special and he’s still young.
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The win took Leeds 10th - the same number of victories they’ve recorded in the league this term.
Despite impressing since moving up from the second tier, Bamford insists their ambitions for this season were modest: “I know it sounds really cliché and every team coming up says you just want to stay in the league, but after being out of the league for 16 years, it’s important for a big club like Leeds to just get a footing in the league and build from that.
“I think we’ve outdone ourselves to be honest, and we’ve taken a lot of teams by surprise. But it’s no more than we deserve, in some patches of the season we’ve been brilliant.
“Sometimes we’ve let ourselves down as well. It’s that consistency, but it definitely bodes well for the future.”
Palace boss Roy Hodgson admitted afterwards that his team did not deserve anything from the match, and that they were well off their best.
“You can’t afford to go 1-0 down after three minutes and 2-0 down after 50 minutes and expect to come away with a good result, unless you play some outstanding football, and we didn’t play any outstanding football”, he said.
“We were below what I know we’re capable of doing. It’s tough against Leeds because they pressurise you well, they don’t give you much time, and the pitch of course was difficult.
“The bottom line, for me, was we didn’t pass the ball anywhere near well enough, or anywhere near as well as I know we can do, and as a result we have to accept we lost the game to a better team.”
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