Garth Crooks has told BBC Sport that he did not think that Patrick Bamford would be good enough for the Premier League before the Leeds United striker’s outstanding start to the season.
Bamford seemed to have a lot of doubters to silence following the Whites’ promotion. He scored 16 goals in the Championship last term. However, he also seemed to miss plenty of big chances.
But he has certainly proved a point. Bamford went into Friday’s clash with Aston Villa having scored three times in his first five appearances this season.
And any remaining critics were well and truly dealt with after his display at Villa Park. Bamford scored a stunning second-half hat-trick to seal a 3-0 win for Marcelo Bielsa’s side.
The performance prompted Crooks to include Bamford in his Team of the Week. And he explained how he was one of those who was proved wrong by the striker’s form.
“I saw this lad play when he was a scholar at Chelsea and thought he was an exceptional finisher but couldn’t play,” he told BBC Sport. “I was fascinated with his moves to various clubs and followed his progress but never thought he was good enough for the Premier League.
“What I’ve seen so far this season from him only increased my curiosity. His hat-trick against Aston Villa on Friday won my respect and admiration. Goals two and three were top-class finishes but his willingness to work for the team has left me mesmerised.”
Bielsa’s faith vindicated
The most important thing for Bamford is that Bielsa never seemed to question his potential. Even when the club signed Spain international Rodrigo, the Leeds boss seemingly saw the forward as someone to work with Bamford rather than take his place.
And Bielsa has certainly been vindicated for that stance. Bamford has six goals in six games, and has probably never been more clinical since his Elland Road switch.