Hat-trick shows how Bamford has taken his chance
MIDDLESBROUGH striker Patrick Bamford’s beaming expression after the final whistle against Leeds United on Friday night said it all.
He was back in business after the first professional hat-trick of his career – and back in his favoured central striking role, too.
Bamford, enjoying a Boro renaissance to rekindle memories of his 19-goal haul in the 2014-15 campaign on Teesside that saw him named as the Championship’s player of the season, said: “I am enjoying my football now. I am happy to be playing up front.
“I am sure everybody knows that is what I ideally want to do. We have been through that a lot of times.
“I am a striker and that’s where I want to play. I knew when I got my chance to go up front at Sunderland that I had to take it. Fortunately I did.”
Bamford’s haul of six goals in his past three matches has also helped ease the pain of a tough past few years in his career, but despite some difficulties he believes that the adversity has helped him become a stronger and more mature individual.
He added: “To be honest the last few years have probably helped me in terms of how I handle being in and out of the side. As much as it has been frustrating not to be in the team I think I have probably matured because of it.
“Earlier in my career, when I was at (Crystal) Palace and Norwich, I know I took things quite badly. I didn’t really handle that stage of my career very well. The same was true at Burnley.
“But I think as I have learned and grown up I knew what to do this time when I was left out of the team. I knew I had to work and keep my head on things, and that is paying off so far.”
While Bamford’s reemergence has been prominent, the remarkable transformation of Adama Traore continues apace with the flying winger having a hand in two of Bamford’s goals on Friday to continue his outstanding form.
Bamford said: “I said before the game, ‘You had better assist me with at least one goal’. We had a laugh about that.
“You can say that he is unplayable when he gets in that kind of mood, and his final pass is getting better and better.”