This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Leeds United look to get back to winning ways as they return from the international break, when they travel to Barnsley in the Sunday lunchtime kick-off in the Championship, looking to close the gap on leaders Swansea City.
Ahead of their return to action, former Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka has suggested in The Athletic, that Whites striker Patrick Bamford has all the characteristics required to be a Premier League player.
Karanka managed Bamford when the 26-year-old was at Boro, and having been promoted to first-choice striker at Elland Road, Bamford is certainly in excellent form with four goals in six Championship starts.
So is Karanka right in his praise of Bamford?
“He is not far off, but I would have to ultimately disagree.
“Bamford has shown that he can be a truly excellent front man but he can be seriously frustrating to watch at times.
“His instincts are of a Premier League class. There are plenty of strikers in the top-flight who cannot find the right place to be in the box as well as the Leeds man.
“However, so often when the ball finds him he seems to lose his composure and miss a glorious chance. If he can rectify that then there is no reason he cannot thrive at the top.”
“I can see where Karanka is coming from.
“Bamford is a good all-round striker who is athletic, strong, good in link-up play, and most importantly knows how to score goals (and has a record to prove it).
“The issue is that there have been so many strikers who have excelled in the Championship but have not quite been able to make the step up.
“He has struggled when given a chance in the Premier League, in the 2015/16 and 2016/17 seasons, scoring once in 27 appearances, but he is more experienced now and may be better suited.
“If he can continue to play and score goals as he is, then there is a good chance he can help Leeds win promotion and will have a chance to prove himself.”
“I do not agree with Karanka at all on this, Bamford is clearly best suited for Championship level, with a high majority of his goals coming in the second tier”
“He has played just 27 games in the Premier league, finding the net on just one occasion, which suggests to me that he would be out of his depth in the top flight.”
“I feel like people still see Bamford as a young player, but in reality he is now 26 years of age, the time is now for him to fulfill his obvious potential and maybe if Leeds can gain promotion, he will prove me wrong one day”
“Lastly, I believe that you can get the best out of him by playing him in a two up front as I believe he does not have the work-rate to play on his own up top.”