BBC Sport pundit Noel Whelan has claimed Patrick Bamford’s efforts for Leeds United unjustly fly under the radar at Elland Road.
Whelan is vigorous in his belief that the forward receives criticism that his performances do not necessarily warrant, and that supporters ought to realise Bamford has never – and will likely never – be a prolific goalscorer but consistently offers more than just goals.
The 26-year-old struck his 13th goal of the Championship season on Saturday as we beat Huddersfield Town, to stretch his claim as our leading ‘scorer with 23% of our total 56 strikes. His record is also enough to rank eighth in the second-tier, though is ten goals behind league-leader Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic.
Bamford struck his latest hit after Ben White’s rebound fell to his feet for a tap in, which Whelan is confident is nothing more than the Grantham-born forward deserved after going seven league games without scoring.
“It is what he deserves,” Whelan told Football Insider. “The amount of effort he puts into every single game. I know for a number nine it is about scoring goals but he brings so much more to the side.
Are supporters over-critical of Bamford's performances?
“He takes a lot of stick from a lot of people and it is very divided with the fans. What they need to realise is that he has never been prolific in his career but he is Leeds United’s top scorer so he is doing something right.
“The work that he does is a massive help and a lot of people do not see that but it is very much recognised by me as a striker. It is not an easy job to do.”
Only once in his career has Bamford scored more goals during a Championship season than he has this term, having hit the back of the net 17 times in 38 games for Middlesbrough during the 2014/15 campaign that saw Boro lose in the Play-Off Final.
We will hopefully benefit more from Bamford’s goals with Marcelo Bielsa’s men currently atop the standings by a point with 11 games to play, but we could be even closer to the Premier League had he converted a number of his spurned chances.
No player for either side fashioned more shots than Bamford (seven) in our defeat to Wigan Athletic last month, with the 26-year-old also directing the most on target (three), per WhoScored.
Only Luke Ayling took more shots (three) in our draw with Brentford than Bamford did whilst the forward was on the pitch, while Bamford also missed the target with his only effort as we lost to Nottingham Forest.
But at the same time, we would not have beat Wigan Athletic, Blackburn Rovers, Luton Town, Millwall or drawn with Cardiff City without Bamford’s goals, and his work off the ball has consistently created space for others to attack.