Where is the heart of the striker at the international level? Goal take a look at what has been said
After showing a lot of promise as a youngster, Patrick bamford eventually became one of the best forwards in England under the eagle-eyed supervision of legendary Leeds United coach Marcelo Bielsa.
After scoring 16 league goals last season, the forward has beaten double the numbers in the Premier League and contributed his fair share of assists during the campaign.
His form over the past few seasons has led Gareth Southgate to style him for England in order to tie up a talent who could also be eligible to play for the Republic of Ireland.
Goal examines Bamford’s international eligibility and whether he will ultimately play for the Three Lions or decide to cast his spell with the Boys in Green.
Will Patrick Bamford play for England or Ireland?
Patrick Bamford has a clear preference for playing England and the striker has fended off Ireland’s attentions on several occasions.
Indeed, while Bamford played for Ireland at the Under-18 level, he was never involved in England’s squad until 2010, playing for their representative teams U18, U19 and U21.
An international career with the Three Lions at the senior level has eluded him, however, and as he faces his 28th birthday, it’s fair to say that time is running out for him to carve out a place in the Southgate squad.
There have been some suggestions that Bamford could earn a place in England Euro 2020 squad, but if he wants to catapult himself into the calculation, he has to skip a certain number of players.
He’s currently behind Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Tammy Abraham, Callum Wilson and Danny Ings, so he’ll need to consistently impress in order to supplant one of them.
The likes of Kane, Rashford, and Calvert-Lewin are likely nailed inclusions based on their shape and reputation, so Bamford will likely be looking for Ings, Abraham, or Wilson’s shirt.
What did Patrick Bamford say?
Bamford has been asked about his international ambitions several times during his career and he has been pretty clear about his loyalty.
In February 2021, he told the Mail on Sunday: “The idea of being selected for England is a dream.
“I thought about it before the last team’s announcement and didn’t sleep well the night before because I was wondering if it was going to happen or not.
“I’m probably a bit in the pecking order, but I just have to keep doing my thing. If I had an England cap my whole career I would be in heaven.”
Right before that, Bamford admitted that a number of players were likely ahead of him in Southgate’s thinking.
“There are four or five attackers who have never been involved with England before and are doing very well,” he said.
“It will be interesting to see who gets called. Whether I do it or not, I know I did my best. Whoever is called fully deserves it, whether it’s me or one of the others.”
In early 2019, former Irish manager Mick McCarthy explained that he had spoken to Bamford about the possibility of playing for the Boys in Green, but Bamford told him he wanted to focus on club football.
Also interestingly, McCarthy revealed that the forward didn’t have the necessary documentation ready then anyway – perhaps a suggestion that the idea of playing for Ireland was far from Bamford’s thoughts.
Bamford then addressed the conversation with McCarthy in a question-and-answer session with the Yorkshire Evening Post later this year.
“Some of the things that are written in the press are a bunch of rubbish,” said the Leeds forward. “I said to Mick ‘Look, I had a serious injury last year and I want to focus on the season with Leeds’.
“I’m not saying no, I’m just focusing on Leeds. I didn’t close any doors, I didn’t say yes, I didn’t say no.”
What did the others say?
Patron of England Gareth Southgate left Bamford from his 2021 first team in favor of Aston Villa forward Ollie Watkins but admitted the Leeds man was on his mind.
“Patrick is very unhappy and who knows we might be sitting here in a few days and we have a problem,” Southgate told reporters. “Patrick is a player we watch a lot too.”
In winter 2020, The temperature reported that the Three Lions boss “is considering” calling Bamford for the November international games against Ireland, Belgium and Iceland.
However, the attacker was not called up at that point either, with Kane, Abraham and Calvert-Lewin deeming sufficient options in the attacking line. Nonetheless, Southgate admitted Bamford was on his radar, noting that the Leeds striker had “done very well” for the newly promoted squad.
Southgate has worked with Bamford before with England, having crowned the striker during his time as Under-21 boss, so he’s already familiar.
In September 2020, the new Irish boss Stephen kenny explained that he had not spoken to Bamford, but indicated that he was open to the player declaring for the Boys in Green.
“It wouldn’t be fair to talk about an individual and what I expected from him when I never spoke to him,” Kenny said at the time.
“I wouldn’t quite know what they think of their national identity, so I don’t think it’s realistic for me to have an open discussion about a person like that.”
The Ireland boss has said that while it is “not in the business of persuading players to be Irish” he remains fully open to any eligible player who declares himself for the country.
I do not agree. Very few people feel Irish but know an Irish family member. I have heard the garbage “They buy from us” but the reality is they have never seen each other in green shirts and we are the second option. Honestly, I wouldn’t want them to include Bamford.
– Kevin Kilbane (@ kdkilbane77) November 16, 2020
Former Irish international Kevin kilbane who, like Bamford, was born in England, has been less open to the prospect, citing his distaste for players who are equivocal about their allegiance.
“I’ve heard the ‘They buy us’ garbage, but the reality is they’ve never seen each other in green shirts and we’re the second option,” Kilbane said on Twitter.
“Honestly, I wouldn’t want it, Bamford included.”
Patrick Bamford’s international eligibility explained
Patrick Bamford is eligible to play for England under FIFA eligibility rules because he is a British citizen born in England.
If he wishes to represent Ireland, he will have to abide by FIFA rules for changing national teams.
Bamford represented Ireland at the Under-18 level when he played for Sean McCaffrey’s side in 2010 – interestingly, in an XI that also included current England international Michael Keane.
However, under-18 games are not considered “official” by FIFA and their “first” association is therefore England, having played for the young Three Lions in official UEFA competition.
To move to Ireland, he will have to formally write to FIFA to request a change, demonstrating to the FIFA Player Status Committee that he is qualified.
In the case of Bamford, he will have to demonstrate that he is an Irish citizen by producing a passport and state that he held nationality before playing for England at youth level.
Her connection to Ireland comes from her mother’s side of the family, through her grandparents.