Patrick Bamford insists he never gave up on a England call-up despite missing Euro 2020…
- Patrick Bamford says patience was a virtue after winning England’s first call-up
- The Leeds striker missed Euro 2020 but never gave up playing for his country
- He refused advances from Ireland and had always set his sights on Three Lions
Patrick Bamford is elated that patience turned out to be a virtue after admitting it would have been selfish to pursue an international career with Ireland.
Leeds striker Bamford got his first call to England for the World Cup qualifiers against Hungary, Andorra and Poland last week and found out after his club’s sporting director, Victor Orta, FaceTimed him for the official FA email request for his show services.
It’s a reward for the excellent progress Bamford, 27, has made at Elland Road, but also a justification for holding on to his courage: he is eligible to play for Ireland and was chased by both Martin O’Neill and Mick McCarthy.
Patrick Bamford (C) says he has never given up playing for England despite missing Euro 2020
The Leeds striker was chased by Ireland but had always had his sights set on the Three Lions
But the prospect of playing for a country that didn’t quite have his heart did not appeal to Bamford and he made the decision to wait and see if he would stand a chance at England.
“During my first season at Leeds, there was a moment when (McCarthy) got in touch,” Bamford said. “I had a knee injury so I was more focused on getting fit and making sure I could play for Leeds for the rest of the season.
“But also, because my heart was determined to play for England and I had always dreamed of that, I felt it would have been wrong to play international football for Ireland just because they asked me.
Bamford is delighted his ‘dream’ has been realized for England’s World Cup qualifiers
“Had I done 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 achieve my dreams to make them come true.
“There were times when I thought, ‘Maybe it won’t happen,’ but then I would get my head back on track,” Bamford said. “I always said, ‘never give up’ – even if I was eventually called up when I was 36!
“For me that would be a triumph, so it was just a matter of carrying on until the day I have to hang up my boots.”