How Patrick Bamford overcame the dark side of Chelsea loan system

Patrick Bamford was pinched from Nottingham Forest by Chelsea but never got a game and was sent out on loan six times… now, he has a home at Leeds and after overcoming his Stamford Bridge nightmare, hopes to haunt the Blues on Saturday

  • Patrick Bamford joined Chelsea in 2012 from Nottingham Forest at 18-years-old
  • However, he never featured for the first team and was sent out on loan six times
  • Bamford had spells at Middlesbrough, Crystal Palace, Norwich and Burnley
  • He joined Leeds in 2018 and broke multiple records during his time at the club 
  • Striker has also silenced his critics with 13 league goals and five assists this term

Leeds United’s promotion to the Premier League raised many questioned as to whether Patrick Bamford could be relied upon to lead the line for Marcelo Bielsa’s side, after struggling to overcome the dark side of Chelsea’s loan system. 

However, Bamford has proved many of his doubters wrong this season – having scored 13 goals and registered five assists in his 27 league appearances so far this term. 

Doubts over Bamford’s ability to perform in the top-flight began when Chelsea snatched the 18-year-old starlet from Nottingham Forest in 2012 and refused to play him in the first team for the next five years.

Patrick Bamford’s credibility has always been under question after his career at Chelsea

As a result, Bamford spent a copious amount of time on loan, completing temporary spells at MK Dons, Middlesborough, Crystal Palace, Norwich and Burnley before being branded as a player who had failed to live up to expectations.

Bamford made his mark on the Championship with Middlesbrough in the 2014-15 season – scoring 17 times and winning the player of the year award. However, it was not enough to warrant a place in the Chelsea squad as loan signings Radamel Falcao and Alexandre Pato were chosen above him to provide cover for Diego Costa and Loic Remy.

Therefore Bamford spent the next half a decade being overlooked by seven managers and struggled to acquire valuable pitch time to further his career.

Bamford (left) had started his career as a Nottingham Forest as an 18-year-old promising talent

Bamford joined Chelsea back in 2012 from Nottingham Forest but never made a competitive appearance. He is pictured above in a pre-season friendly in 2014 against Ljubljana

Having spent a few months at Crystal Palace, Bamford failed to make the starting XI at least once. During his time at Norwich City, Bamford was unable to convince the manager he was worth keeping. While his brief stint at Turf Moor was a disaster as he and Sean Dyche failed to see eye-to-eye.

Bamford said Dyche picked on him for his upbringing, where he was privately educated, learned to be a musician, and turned down a Harvard scholarship.

‘Me and the boys got on fine at Burnley, but me and Sean Dyche just clashed,’ Bamford told Sportsmail in 2017. ‘I could sit down and talk to him now and be civil, but we had different ideas of football. I didn’t get a chance.

‘There were a few comments at Burnley. Dyche said that because I had come through at Chelsea – and because of the way I had been brought up – I had never had to work for anything.

‘My background is irrelevant, and I didn’t even come through at Chelsea. I started at Nottingham Forest cleaning toilets and scrubbing the shower floors. So saying I didn’t want it enough was upsetting.’

Bamford went out on six loan spells during his time at the Blues, including to Crystal Palace

He also had a brief stint at Burnley but he and manager Sean Dyche did not see eye-to-eye

Bamford may have notched 18 goals in 37 matches with MK Dons in League One and scored 25 goals in 65 appearances in the Championship, but his record in the top-flight was non-existent as he failed to find the back of the net in 19 games.

It wasn’t until Bamford returned to soon-to-be-relegated Middlesbrough – permanently in January 2017 – that he found his feet again. 

However, Bamford’s success at the club only saw more people question whether his future would be limited to the level of the Championship.

It wasn’t until Bamford joined Leeds United on a four-year-old deal in 2018 – worth around £10million – that his rise to stardom transcended.

Bamford was Leeds’ fifth summer signing after goalkeeper Jamal Blackman, defender Barry Douglas and midfielders Lewis Baker and Jack Harrison but has proved to be one of their most notable.

Bamford’s first season saw him score nine goals in 22 Championship appearances which is a considerable contribution considering his campaign was disrupted by two knee injuries.

Bamford began to recapture form under Middlesbrough boss Tony Pulis in the 2017-18 season

However, it was not until he joined Leeds United in 2018 that he began his rise to stardom 

Bamford went on to play a defining role in helping Leeds earn promotion to the Premier League, finishing top scorer with 16 Championship goals last term.

As for this season, Bamford returned to Stamford Bridge in December with the complete backing of his manager, seven goals in 10 league appearances under his belt and desire to get his revenge.   

Entering the game as the English top flight’s joint-fifth leading scorer, Bamford beat Edouard Mendy in the fourth minute of the game to give Leeds the advantage over his former club.

Bamford’s goal against Chelsea is one of many strikes that have helped silence doubters this season. His 13 goals this term have all showcased his impeccable finishing ability.

The Leeds striker put himself into esteemed company after scoring a hat-trick at Aston Villa. The goal-scoring masterclass saw him join a select group of legends, including Eric Cantona and Gordon Strachan, in achieving the feat in the Premier League for the Whites.

Bamford’s hat-trick also saw him become just the second player to score in each of their opening three away games in a top-flight league season – following Gordon Hodgson’s footsteps, who managed the same in the 1937-38 campaign.

 The Leeds striker put himself into esteemed company after scoring a hat-trick at Aston Villa

He joined Eric Cantona (left) in achieving the feat in the Premier League for the Whites

In addition, Bamford became the first Leeds player to find the net more than once in an away Premier League match since Mark Viduka and Harry Kewell goals in a 6-1 thrashing of Charlton Athletic in 2003.

As a result, Bamford has gone from zero to hero with former Premier League striker Carlton Cole praising him for proving his doubters wrong, while talkSPORT’s Tony Cascarino has lauded the impact of Bamford at Leeds, after previously urging Bielsa to sign a new frontman. 

Subsequently, Bamford’s ‘dream’ of earning an England call-up from Gareth Southgate could become a reality after a series of good performances have seen him eradicate his reputation for thriving in the Championship, but struggling at Premier League level. 

He has even provided a better goal return than several of Southgate’s regular No 9’s this season – including Tammy Abraham, Danny Ings, Marcus Rashford and Callum Wilson. 

Bamford’s 13 league goals have raised questions over whether he will get an England call-up

England boss Gareth Southgate could ask Bamford to join the likes of Harry Kane in the team

Having finally broken free of the Chelsea shackles that plagued his career, Bamford will look to show the Blues what they missed out on when Leeds host Thomas Tuchel’s side this weekend.  

Chelsea will, however, be aiming to extend their unbeaten run under their new manager to 12 matches during Saturday’s Premier League clash.   

Meanwhile, Leeds sit in the middle of the table in 11th place on 35 points so far this season. 

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