Patrick Bamford - the Premier League striker eligible to play for IrelandWed, Sep 30 2020
Patrick Bamford’s late winner away to Sheffield United on Sunday has made him the first player in Leeds United’s history to score in his first three top-flight appearances for the club.
He also became the first Leeds player since Mick Jones in 1968 to score in Leeds' first three matches of a top-flight season.
Bamford is eligible to play for Ireland through his maternal grandparents and Stephen Kenny was asked about the player when he named his squad for the upcoming EURO 2020 play-off against Slovakia.
“I can’t discuss an individual who I’ve never spoken to,” said Kenny. “We’re here for a press conference leading up to the Slovakia game.
“It wouldn’t be fair to be speaking about an individual and what I’d expect of them when I’ve never spoken to them.
“I wouldn’t entirely know how they feel about their national identity, so I don’t think it’s realistic for me to have an open discussion about a person like that.”
Bamford appeared once for the Republic of Ireland U-18 side before spending the rest of his underage career with England, winning six caps and scoring once.
He was named in Gareth Southgate’s squad for the 2015 UEFA U-21 Championship but was forced to withdraw due to injury.
Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane previously made efforts to recruit Bamford for the Irish senior squad, with O’Neill telling reporters, “it would be ridiculous of me not to go and pursue someone who has played at a decent level”.
Mick McCarthy also tried to get the striker to join the Irish set-up.
Bamford for his part has told Irish management that he wanted to concentrate on club football after struggling with a bad injury.
“I spoke to Mick and he asked me to basically change over nationality for the summer games and I said: look, I had a bad injury last year and I want to concentrate for the rest of the season with Leeds.”
“I am not saying no, I am just concentrating on Leeds. I haven’t closed any doors. I have not said yes, I have not said no.”
However with the striker now back to full fitness and in great form an Irish call-up remains a possibility.
A product of the Nottingham Forest academy, he joined Chelsea in early 2012. Bamford was loaned out to no less than six clubs before signing with Middlesbrough in 2017.
He spent 19 months with Boro before settling in West Yorkshire. Although he struggled at times on the pitch he always remained a favourite of Marcelo Bielsa.
He scored 16 league goals for Leeds as they won the 2019-20 EFL Championship and promotion to the top flight in England.
A Premier League striker would certainly strengthen Stephen Kenny’s options ahead of 2022 World Cup qualifications.
Additional reporting by Macdara Ferris