Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani has hailed Patrick Bamford’s senior England debut as a ‘great achievement’ in a post on Twitter.
Bamford has marked his 28th birthday with a start in England’s World Cup qualifier against Andorra, having received his first senior international call-up last week.
The forward firmly established himself in the Premier League last season, notching 17 goals and putting himself on the radar of Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate.
Radrizzani tweeted: “Great achievement on his birthday for our Pat.”
There were question marks over Bamford’s ability to step up to the Premier League after Leeds sealed promotion from the Championship in 2020, but he silenced critics with an excellent 2020/21 campaign.
He has also made a bright start to the 2021/22 season, most recently scoring a crucial equaliser in the 1-1 draw with Burnley after spending the afternoon in a tough physical battle with Clarets defenders James Tarkowski and Ben Mee.
Despite facing stiff competition for a place in Southgate’s squad, Bamford has earned a place ahead of the likes of Aston Villa marksman Danny Ings.
His selection has made him the 33rd Leeds player to represent England and the first Whites forward to make an England debut since Alan Smith in 2001.
He was rewarded for his scintillating form at Elland Road with a new five-year contract last month, suggesting he will be leading the line for the Whites for years to come.
Bamford’s inclusion in the starting XI also sparked praise from pundits, with Roy Keane claiming he is setting an example for budding young footballers.
Speaking on ITV, Keane said: “I think throughout his career, it’s perseverance because there are doubters out there, there were question marks over whether he was going to be tough enough, would he score at the highest level?
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“He’s proved that, I looked at the last game at Burnley, the two central defenders really roughed him up but he scored a really important equaliser so the kid stuck at it, great to see him.
“28, at 26 Wrighty (Ian Wright) made his debut so it’s a great lesson for young kids, stick at it and persevere.”