Patrick Bamford made his England Under-21 bow on Tuesday night under the watchful eye of Steve Holland, who has been speaking exclusively to Chelsea TV about the striker’s week.
Holland, who started working as England Under-21’s assistant coach in August, has helped guide Gareth Southgate’s youngsters to the top of their Euro 2015 qualifying group.
The young England side defeated Finland 3-0 last week, with Saido Berahino, of West Brom, getting two of the goals, but a booking in the same game ruled the striker out of Tuesday’s clash with San Marino. That left a space in the squad free and Holland told Chelsea TV why Patrick Bamford, currently on loan at MK Dons, was selected to fill it.
‘There was an opportunity for a number nine given the opposition and the fact we were going to be around their box a lot,’ explained the Chelsea assistant first team coach.
‘You have still got to have players who put the ball in the net and Patrick, who hadn’t been involved with the Under-21s, was the next one in line because he’s got 10 goals in 15 games for MK Dons in League One.
‘He can play on either side and down the middle, he’s a very intelligent footballer,’ Holland continued. ‘He was only with us for two days really but he did well in training on the Monday and he managed to get his debut on Tuesday night, he had 25 minutes on the field. It’s been a good week for him.’
England’s Under-21 side beat their San Marino counterparts 9-0, a record scoreline at that level, and it’s a result which puts them three points clear at the top of Group 1 having played a game fewer than their nearest challengers Moldova.
Bamford, meanwhile, will be hoping to add to his impressive goalscoring tally this weekend as his MK Dons side host Bradford City.