Patrick Bamford celebrated his 28th birthday by fulfilling a lifetime ambition on Sunday as he earned his first England cap, starting the 4-0 win over Andorra at Wembley.
The Leeds United striker has had to wait longer than most to earn his international breakthrough, with his hard work at Elland Road finally being rewarded.
While the game was probably a disappointing one for Bamford – due to lack of real service before he was substituted on the hour mark – he rightfully earned his place in the squad by being the second top English scorer in the Premier League last season, beaten only by Harry Kane.
Considering that before the 2020/21 season even began there were opposition fans and even major media outlets questioning his ability to cope in the Premier League, Bamford simply wanted a chance to prove them wrong and the fact that he has even earned a cap for England should be enough to do so.
Nick Marshall, ex-Academy Director at Nottingham Forest and one of the key figures in Bamford’s development and feels that his former charge deserves his chance in the national team.
In an interview with our sister title Nottinghamshire Live, Marshall spoke about the Three Lions striker’s development.
“He got to 13 and lost his legs – he slowed down and lost his touch,” he said. “He was a bit like Bambi on ice. Michael Dawson was the same.
“I put him back in his age group, which didn’t go down well at the time. By 16 he was playing in the Premier League final, an under-19 game and did really well.”
Marshall added that much is made of Bamford’s upbringing and education and that more focus should go on his footballing ability.
“People talk about him bright off the pitch and academically. That line about him being bright in that sense is getting boring now.
“He’s an exceptionally bright footballer, but it didn’t come easy for him. I had a few run-ins with his dad, Russell, but he always wanted the best for his boy and I’m still in touch with him.
“I messaged Patrick after he got his England call. I’m so chuffed. He deserves it.”
Bamford will hope for another opportunity to score his first England goal when they face Poland on Wednesday.