Former Norwich City teammate Matt Jarvis has claimed that Patrick Bamford’s success at Leeds United this season has been down, in part, to the faith put in him by Marcelo Bielsa.
Bamford bagged a hat-trick in Leeds’ 3-0 win against Aston Villa on Friday and has now scored six goals in the Premier League this season, behind only Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Tottenham’s Heung-Min Son.
The 27-year-old didn’t have quite that level of success when he joined Norwich on loan from Chelsea back in 2016, featuring just seven times and not finding the net once.
Speaking to BBC Radio 5Live, Jarvis, one of Bamford’s former Canaries teammates, has outlined what has changed to allow the striker to thrive at Leeds.
He said: “I played with Pat at Norwich and you could always tell he’s got a fantastic ability to score goals. His left foot is fantastic, he’s a good size, he’s good in the air, he can finish with his right foot.
“When he was at Norwich, it was confidence for him and I think you can see now, he’s playing week in, week out and the manager backs him.
“There was a lot of press about him, can he cope in the Premier League? Everyone was saying no. He’s just come out, the manager’s backed him, he’s started the season and he’s been outstanding.”
Bielsa has certainly put faith in Bamford since he became his first choice last summer, with the striker missing just one of the club’s last 52 league games.
There were question marks whether he was a prolific enough goalscorer to help them secure promotion last term but Bielsa stuck with the 27-year-old, even when Arsenal’s Eddie Nketiah was on loan at the Yorkshire club.
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Having played with Bamford at Norwich, Jarvis is uniquely placed to make such a claim and it will likely be music to the ears of Whites supporters.
Their number nine has made a flying start to life in the Premier League and seems to be proving the doubters – and there were a fair few last season and over the summer – wrong.
Four years after his struggles on loan at Norwich, Bamford looks a completely different player and it’s hard to argue with the suggestion that the backing he’s got from Bielsa is a major factor.