Chris Sutton has expressed his sympathy for Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford in the aftermath of his England debut on Sunday evening.
The 28-year-old was handed his first start for Gareth Southgate’s men in a comfortable 4-0 win over Andorra, but was taken off just after the hour mark following a largely frustrating display.
The minnows set out to keep the scoreline to a minimum by stifling the Three Lions, and Bamford bore the brunt of that approach, often cutting an isolated figure up front, with several promising runs ignored by his teammates.
And Sutton has admitted that he was frustrated on behalf of the Leeds man at Wembley.
Writing in a column for the Daily Mail, he said: “I feel for Patrick Bamford. He waited a long time for this England bow. Too long, really, because I don't think he should have waited until he turned 28 years old for this first cap.
“In the end, Bamford's Three Lions debut will go down as being fairly underwhelming. You might tell me he should have done better, given he was facing Andorra, the nation ranked 156th in the world and whose population you could squeeze inside Wembley Stadium.
“But it isn't easy for a striker when you're facing a side like this. Bamford didn't have a great deal of space to work with. He likes to peel behind centre halves for Leeds United but there was no chance of that against this Andorra team who, let's be honest, showed zero intent in pushing up.
“If you listened to the game on BBC Radio 5 Live, you'd have heard occasional cheers during the first half. It wasn't because of the football. It was because of fans who were getting giddy whenever a paper plane landed on the pitch.
“When the supporters in the stands are having to create their own fun, that's a sign of boredom, and that was largely down to Andorra merely trying to not lose by too many.
“Bamford was removed after 62 minutes when England were only leading 1-0 and that showed Gareth Southgate's ruthless side. He isn't running a charity here. He's in charge of the national team and he wants to win, so he replaced Bamford with Harry Kane.”