Patrick Bamford insists he never gave up on an England call-up despite missing Euro 2020… and Leeds striker says he would have waited until he was 36 to play for the Three Lions after making squad for World Cup qualifiers
- Patrick Bamford says patience was a virtue after winning first England call-up
- The Leeds striker missed Euro 2020 but never gave up on playing for his country
- He snubbed advances from Ireland and always had his heart set on Three Lions
Patrick Bamford is thrilled that patience proved to be a virtue after admitting it would have been selfish to pursue an international career with Ireland.
Leeds striker Bamford got his first England call last week for the World Cup qualifiers against Hungary, Andorra and Poland and found out after his club’s sporting director, Victor Orta, FaceTimed him to show the FA’s official email request for his services.
It is reward for the outstanding progress Bamford, 27, has made at Elland Road but also vindication for holding his nerve: he is eligible to play for Ireland and was pursued by both Martin O’Neill and Mick McCarthy.
Patrick Bamford (C) says he never gave up on playing for England despite missing Euro 2020
The Leeds striker was pursued by Ireland but always had his heart set on the Three Lions
But the prospect of playing for a country that did not fully have his heart did not appeal to Bamford and he took the decision to wait and see if he would get a shot with England.
‘There was a point during my first season at Leeds when (McCarthy) did get in touch,’ said Bamford. ‘I had a knee injury so I was more focused on getting fit and making sure I could play the rest of the season for Leeds.
‘But, also, I felt because my heart had been committed to playing for England and I had always dreamt of that, I felt it would have been wrong to then go and play international football for Ireland just because they had asked me.
Bamford is delighted his ‘dream’ has been realised ahead of England’s World Cup qualfiers
‘If I did that, I might have kept someone out of that team whose dream was to play for Ireland. I didn’t think that would be fair. I had to stay true to myself, work hard and try to reach my dreams to make them happen.
‘There were times I thought, “maybe it won’t happen” but then I’d get my head back on track,’ said Bamford. ‘I always said, “never give up” — even if I ended up getting called up when I was 36!
‘For me, that would be a triumph so it was just a case of keep going until the day I have to hang my boots up.’
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