Leeds will get better if Bamford improves in one area

This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets…

Patrick Bamford’s time at Leeds has been one full of trouble after making the move from Middlesbrough.

Following his outing against Manchester United on Wednesday, it doesn’t look as though it’s going to get better either.

The striker missed a straightforward chance that could have put the Whites back into the game, but instead, he fired at the goalkeeper’s leg in a passage of play that rather summed up his indifferent spell under Marcelo Bielsa.

Bamford scored nine times last term but during the first half of the season found himself on the sidelines through injury, subjected to watching Leeds dominate with Kemar Roofe scoring the goals instead.

He netted on 15 occasions throughout 2018/19, finishing as the Whites’ top scorer, an achievement Bamford himself undoubtedly would have wanted when he walked through the doors.

But his rather unconvincing displays were overshadowed by other incidents.

A two-game ban followed a rather unsavoury incident against Aston Villa for deceiving the officials before he was then shown a yellow card for diving against Derby in the play-offs.

It appeared he hadn’t learned his lesson, although he now does regret what he did.

However, despite needing to improve in terms of his maturity, his ability to cause trouble in the right way can be improved if he sorts out his play in possession of the ball.

Last season, he managed three unsuccessful touches per match, a tally that put him top of the tree for that statistic in the Leeds squad.

Roofe sat behind him on 2.6 loose touches whilst Tyler Roberts averaged two per match.

And if Bamford’s struggles at Elland Road are to end, it’s an area he simply has to improve in.

The fact of the matter is that the 25-year-old needs to become more careful with the ball at his feet, especially if he has desires of living up to his potential.

At one point last season, the former Chelsea man managed a mighty eight unsuccessful touches in a game against Wigan whilst he also managed seven against Brentford and Birmingham.

The fact he had four or more unsuccessful touches in 11 games tells the story of a frustrating season.

The frequency at which he lost the ball simply wasn’t good enough, but if he improves, it’ll undoubtedly make Leeds a better team.