Amid all the plaudits that have been heading Raphinha’s way recently, the spotlight has somewhat faded away from Leeds striker Patrick Bamford.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side have enjoyed an impressive season in the Premier League thus far, and their summer signing Raphinha has certainly lit up Elland Road with some moments of magic, whether that be a spectacular free-kick or a jaw-dropping piece of skill.
However, while the Brazilian may be the man in the headlines, it’s arguably Bamford who’s been Bielsa’s key man.
Speaking just last month, Match of the Day pundit and former Arsenal striker Ian Wright waxed lyrical about the striker, and even gave credit to the club’s fanbase for the role they’ve had in Bamford’s successes.
He said: “You look at what Bamford has been through, six loan moves, his upbringing, private school stuff, Palace fans complaining about the way he runs – he has been through so much. People told him he would never be a Premier League striker.
“But Leeds fans deserve credit for sticking by him, even when you looked at some of those games and he did miss some easy chances. The manager stuck with him, and it will be difficult to find a manager with as much faith in Bielsa.”
As Wright says, Bamford has faced a lot of criticism over the years, including from some of his teams’ own supporters, so for him to make the step-up to Premier League level and look like he belongs is a real credit to him and his work ethic, and most importantly his mental strength.
Whether he’s been playing with a chip on his shoulder is only something he can say, but it’s fair to suggest that he’s well and truly silenced a lot of the doubters.
With 12 games to go in the competition, you wouldn’t put it past him to go on another hot streak and finish the campaign by breaking the 20-goal barrier, and that really would put him in historic company – only five players in the Premier League era have scored more than 20 goals in a league season for a newly-promoted side.
So while Raphinha may be the man of the moment, the £35k-a-week earning Bamford has arguably been Bielsa’s biggest success story and hero this season in the Premier League.