THICK AS THIEVES
2PM TOMORROW, SKY SPORTS Bamford’s banter boys keep up team spirit by... stealing each other’s cars!
SLEDGING, stealing team-mates’ cars and outing the teacher’s pet – Patrick Bamford has opened the dressing-room door to life at Leeds.
The club are established in the Premier League after 16 years in exile and their great team spirit under Marcelo Bielsa, below, has been key to their success.
Anyone who makes a mistake is ribbed mercilessly and Bamford has been the target this week because of his “assist” at Newcastle on Tuesday, when he lost possession to gift them an equaliser.
But the striker says being able to laugh about his hospital pass to Luke Ayling has made it easier to deal with his error. “It actually helps because if someone is always, ‘oh, are you all right?’ after a game, I’d rather someone take the p*** so you can laugh about it,” said Bamford.
“I was a bit disappointed with my performance at Newcastle. I gave the goal away just before I got taken off, which made it a little bit worse. It’s not every day a striker gets an assist for the other team!”
Not even England midfielder Kalvin Phillips is spared from the abuse and
Bamford says he is Bielsa’s teacher’s pet. Bamford revealed the manager admitted Phillips is his favourite when he said he is the one Leeds player he would be happy for one of his two daughters – Ines and Mercedes – to marry. Speaking on the official Leeds United podcast, Bamford said: “Kalv is teacher’s pet because I remember Marcelo said that if his daughters were to marry a footballer or someone at Leeds, he would pick Kalvin.” Bamford says he and Phillips also joined forces last season to prank BenWhite when they nicked his car and hid it in the prison opposite their Thorp Arch training ground. “He watched it on the CCTV and he could see Kalv was in his car, but he couldn’t see who was driving because I had the visor down,” said the former Chelsea forward. “He didn’t realise it was me for about two months. That’s why he didn’t come back!”
For all their joking, Leeds are deadly serious when they cross the white line and Bamford admits they felt the pressure before the 2-1 win at Newcastle because they had been beaten in their previous three games.
He said: “If we’d lost it, we would have been dragged in a little bit closer, but winning it made such a big difference.”
Bamford, 27, who is Leeds’ top scorer this term with 10 league goals, says that win has boosted their confidence ahead of tomorrow’s clash with Leicester.
The Foxes ruthlessly picked Leeds off on the break to win 4-1 at Elland Road at the start of November, and Bamford added: “With Leicester it’s going to be just as challenging as Newcastle, but in a different way.
“As we saw when we played them at home, if we switch off for a little bit, on the counter-attack, they are devastating.
“It’s one of those, if everything works out how we want it to, it will be a great game.
“When we’ve played the top teams we’ve given a good account of ourselves. Leicester are counted as one of the top teams, so let’s hope we play well again.”