Former teammate Dean Lewington says Chelsea youngster Patrick Bamford has what it takes to break into the club’s first-team this season.
Bamford played with Lewington during two loan stints at Milton Keynes Dons from November 2012 to January 2014, netting 21 goals in 44 appearances for the League One side.
Now back at Chelsea, following another loan spell at Derby County during the second-half of 2013-14, the 20-year-old has been involved with the first-team in pre-season, scoring in the 5-0 win over Wycombe Wanderers, and the MK Dons captain wants to see him given the chance to showcase his talents in the Premier League.
‘He was great for us last year, Pat. He actually came in the year before too for the last couple of months,’ he told Sky Sports New Radio. ‘This last time, though, he was here for seven or eight months and he was fantastic.
‘It’d be nice to see him make that step up because obviously Chelsea is such a difficult environment to break into. They’ve got so many players, plus the money to go out and get a £35 million striker, so it makes things doubly tough.
‘He’s a very talented boy. They seem to like him and they’ve given him first-team opportunities in pre-season so it’d be great to see him in and around there,’ he added.
‘As he showed when he was here, he scores goals and wherever he goes he’s done that. Hopefully he can do that now at Chelsea.’
Signed from Nottingham Forest in January 2012 for £1.5 million, Bamford has yet to experience a minute of Premier League football, but his eight goals in 21 games for Derby in their run to the Championship play-off final last season served as a promising sign of things to come.
However, with Diego Costa, Andre Schurrle, Fernando Torres and Romelu Lukaku all at the club, as well as rumours of Didier Drogba’s imminent arrival, the England under-21 international will have to hope that at least one of the latter two incumbent strikers is shipped out to have a chance of seeing serious minutes with the first-team this season.
Injuries are always possible, of course, but it may in fact be better for Bamford’s development were he to spend another year out on loan with a Championship club, or even a top-flight side, though the remaining weeks of pre-season will ultimately prove crucial towards determining what plans Jose Mourinho has in store for the promising frontman.