Leeds forward Eddie Nketiah could have a huge impact on Patrick Bamford

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If there’s one word to describe Patrick Bamford then it is infuriating. Or something in that ballpark.

The striker signed from Middlesbrough last term but endured a rather indifferent first season in Yorkshire.

2018/19 was a difficult one for him. He missed 22 matches through injury, scored ten times and was also banned for deceiving the officials.

As if missing games through injury wasn’t bad enough, that final line summed it all up.

An incident involving Aston Villa’s Anwar El Ghazi saw the 25-year-old chuck himself to the floor without being touched.

His reputation was tarnished and that wasn’t helped by diving in the playoffs either.

For a player who grew up in Chelsea’s youth academy, his story has been one of stagnation and what-ifs.

He started this season with a goal against Bristol City but the performance he put in against Nottingham Forest last weekend told a sorry story.

Bamford had six opportunities, hitting the bar once as three of his efforts were completely off target. In a game that Leeds drew, this proved telling.

The striker is very much a figure with a tendency to divide opinion, something Noel Whelan was all too quick to add to after that draw.

Speaking to Football Insider, he said: “It’s crucial moments in times where in front of goal it’s a lack of concentration, the timing of the volley in the second half. Six, seven yards out, you’ve got to be hitting the back of the net, you’ve just got to.

“Patrick will tell you yourself it’s a chance you’d put away in training but you’re not in training. He’s now costing us points.”

That Whelan believes Bamford is costing Leeds points is a damning indictment. Had he put even one of those six shots away then it’s likely Marcelo Bielsa’s men will have left Elland Road with all three points.

Leeds are still unbeaten but following the departure of Kemar Roofe, something has to change. That starts with Bamford.

On deadline day, the Whites brought in the talented Eddie Nketiah for a temporary stay, a young forward who initially looked as though he’d be in Unai Emery’s Arsenal plans for the upcoming season.

The 20-year-old scored on his debut against Salford and if he continues in the same manner he could prove extremely beneficial.

He can be the one to take the pressure away from Bamford but a relationship on the pitch could also be hugely important.

Because of injuries, Bamford and Roofe weren’t afforded much game time together throughout the first half of last term.

That didn’t seem to matter as the Whites were in such good form but the absence of a clinical goal scorer could prove detrimental as the season unfolds.

Leeds United forward Patrick Bamford

In pre-season, Bielsa attempted to play the pair together and that’s something that could be replicated with Nketiah and Bamford.

After all, the former is particularly good at linking the play, producing moments of quality in the channels for Arsenal during his senior and youth days.

He earned plaudits for that part of his game from Football London after scoring against Fiorentina in pre-season, whilst he’s earned 11 assists in his short career so far.

It’s that final aspect in particular that could serve as good news for the ex-Chelsea man.

Tyler Roberts was originally brought to Leeds as a forward but has since been preferred by Bielsa as an attacking midfielder. Bamford has played as a second striker in his career whilst also enjoyed game time in wider roles for Boro.

To accommodate the pair of them, those are two positions Bielsa could choose for the striker.

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If Leeds can get someone like Nketiah closer to their current first-choice it could prove incredibly valuable.

Although there may be sentiments that he is better off being left out entirely, Bamford is someone who can still play a key role, regardless of where their new loan recruit’s future lies.

He scored nine times despite limited game time in his first year under Bielsa in the Championship. An improvement is needed but Nketiah could be the person to drive that out of him.

Only time will tell whether they can play together, but there are indications given Bamford’s versatility and the Arsenal man’s creativity that they can do so.

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