The Premier League invites one of the greatest English talents of this generation this season: Patrick Bamford whom completed a loan move to Crystal Palace last week after setting the Championship and League One, respectively, alight over the past seasons.
Born a Nottingham Forest fan, Bamford made his name in the English game whilst on loan at MK Dons and Derby County from Chelsea, who he moved to in January 2012 from his boyhood club for a reported fee of £1.5 million.
Under the guidance of Karl Robinson at Stadium MK, a talent emerged, with the youngster averaging around 1.5 goals a match in the first half of the 2013-2014 season.
However, arguably Bamford made the next step in his career while at Derby County, whom he made his debut for in the Rams first league game of January 2014, appearing as a substitute in a 4-1 defeat against local rivals Leicester.
Things would soon change though for Bamford and McClaren’s men, and the highlight for him would certainly be playing a key part in Derby’s biggest win against his Forest since 1898 – in which the Rams won 5-0.
The highlight of 2014, though, was surely reaching Wembley as County narrowly missed out on a return to the top league thanks to a late goal from QPR’s Bobby Zamora. Bamford featured for only a matter of minutes in the final at the home of football, coming on as a late substitute for Jamie Ward.
There was no question that the Grantham born striker’s reputation was enhanced thanks to a successful loan spell in the East Midlands, but it was even more heightened last season up in the north east.
The next adventure for this youngster: The Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough, and once again it would end in Wembley heartbreak. It was a successful season where even Jose Mourinho took notice. He was imperative in Boro’s FA Cup win over reigning Premier League champions Manchester City in January, while also becoming the first Red to score 17 league goals in a season since 1990. Success was also found at Anfield earlier in the season against Liverpool in the League Cup where he scored the goal which took the match to a penalty shootout.
Unfortunately for last term’s Championship Player of the Year, the season ended in cruel circumstances, picking up an injury at Carrow Road on a bright April evening in a promotion crunch match. He didn’t recover fully from that point and looked weak in the play-off final a month later, where the injury seemed to re-occur, incidentally against the same opposition in Norwich. However, he outlined his strength and pure love of the game by battling on right to the end of the match where emotions were high following the reality that he had not guided Middlesbrough back to the Premier League.
His performances failed to go unnoticed at international level as he has won tow caps for England’s Under-21s and was called up to the Euro 2015 squad before having to withdraw with an injury.
With over 100 Football League games under his belt, Bamford will feel now is the time to prove himself in England’s top flight with Crystal Palace.