Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford has named the three young stars he believes are edging closer to the first-team picture under Marcelo Bielsa.
It’s been a difficult start to the season for the Whites. They head to Southampton on Saturday with just one win to their name. And they’ll face a Southampton side without star man Raphinha, who plays again for Brazil on Friday morning.
However, in Daniel James and Jack Harrison, Leeds have two summer signings they hope can cover their Brazilian firecracker.
Indeed, Bielsa’s side spent a relatively modest £52m this summer, with James accounting for close to half.
Instead, they did invest a fair chunk of cash on a raft of talented youngsters once again.
Having signed the likes of Sam Greenwood, Joe Gelhardt and Cody Drameh in 2020, they followed suited with five young signings in 2021. As such, they landed five rising teenagers including Lewis Bate from Chelsea and current back-up goalkeeper Kristoffer Klaesson.
And three of those young stars Drameh, Greenwood and Bate all impressed during the international break. Indeed, the trio combined in scoring a goal for England U21s in a clash against Italy.
And on the official Leeds United podcast, actor and Leeds fan Matthew Lewis picked that out as his highlight of the week.
He said: “My moment to the week was England’s under-21, the equaliser against Italy, it was made in Leeds.
“We had Cody Drameh on the right, crossed it in, little flick from Sam Greenwood and then Lewis Bate finishes in the bottom left.”
That too caught the eye of Bamford, appearing in his regular guest slot.
And he reckons the trio are pushing hard for a place in the first team at Leeds.
“Yeah, they’re close,” Bamford said. “I think what the gaffer has shown is that anyone who earns their chance will be given it. People who work hard will be given a chance. He’s not afraid to put the young ones in if they deserve it.”
Greenwood involvement close for Leeds
United will be hoping that Bamford can return from an ankle injury in time for Saturday’s clash at St Mary’s.
To that end, Bielsa will no doubt provide an update on his No 9’s fitness in his press conference on Thursday afternoon.
In his absence, Leeds have started with Rodrigo Moreno up front during the last two games.
And while he has done relatively well, he is yet to score or register an assist this season.
The chances of Greenwood starting at St Mary’s appear remote. However, the former Arsenal youngster could well find himself on the bench at St Mary’s and may be called upon as a possible option should they need.