Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford has revealed how Tony Pulis had a positive effect on his game whilst at Middlesbrough.
Pulis’ last job in football was at the Riverside Stadium. His Boro side had been in the top-six throughout the course of the 2018/19 Championship season but dropped out at the death, and Pulis parted ways with the club after his contract expired last summer.
He’s a nomad of the EFL and a man with some fine managerial achievements to his name. But speaking to the Yorkshire Evening Post, Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford recalled his time at Boro, and how Pulis instilled some much-needed aggression into his game:
“I remember when I was first at Middlesbrough on loan, Aitor (Karanka) – who I’m really good friends with – he put me out on the right or sometimes in a two up front because he didn’t think at that stage I was ready to play on my own up front,” said Bamford.
“I had the same kind of thing when Pulis came into Middlesbrough. Gary Monk just didn’t fancy me for whatever reason and when Tony Pulis came in I started off on the left and I was begging him to give me a chance up front and he did.
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“That was when I scored the hat-trick against Leeds and I played against Forest as well and didn’t score but it was against Aitor’s team. He came up to me after the game and gave me a big hug and said ‘wow you’re a man now hey?’
“I think that season and working under Pulis helped me a lot, changed the way I approached the game, I realised I had to be a bit more aggressive.”
Today, Bamford is the main striker for Championship leaders Leeds United. His game has gone onto a whole other level under Marcelo Bielsa – he’s a workhorse up-front and although he might not score as many as he should, he’s a crucial part of that side.
Pulis had a reputation for not playing the best kind of football. He always favoured a target-man like Bamford, who enjoyed some of the best form of his career under the Welshman.
Bamford now only needs four more league goals to match his record of 17 at Championship level (which he attained in his first spell at Middlesbrough in the 2014/15 season), and he could yet get his shot at the Premier League with the Yorkshire club.
Everyone can see the improvements made by Bamford in the past few seasons. He’s long been a striker with a prolific nature but he’s not always shown that.
Both Pulis and Bielsa have had positive effects on his game, and should Leeds head up to the Premier League this season then expect Bamford to take his own game to the next level as well.