Patrick Bamford should be dropped by Leeds United, claims pundit Gabby Agbonlahor, in another bizarre analysis of the Elland Road club.
Agbonlahor has courted controversy this season and last with some of his views of Leeds, and manager Marcelo Bielsa in particular.
Who can forget earlier in the season when he said he Bielsa’s success was a ‘myth’ and that fans were rattled by his views, or that they should have been focusing on his old club Aston Villa instead. Or when he called Bielsa and Leeds ‘naive’ in another dig at the club.
Now he has turned his attention to Bamford, saying the player should be axed for running out of steam. The forward has started every game for Leeds this season and is their top goalscorer, making himself an integral part of the Whites’ success and propelling himself on to the verge of England’s Euro 2020 squad.
However, after he managed just 21 touches at Elland Road against Sheffield United last weekend, Agbonlahor says Bielsa must leave the player out and start Rodrigo against Manchester City.
“He looks tired for me, he looked very tired coming off,” Agbonlahor told Football Insider. “He wasn’t energetic.
“He looked disappointed coming off but I think it was the right decision. Rodrigo looked like he had a lot of energy. Maybe it’s time for Bamford to have a little rest on the bench and let Rodrigo play against Manchester City.
“You cannot play every game of the season. You do need a rest, especially when you’re over the age of 25.
“Maybe it’s something Bielsa does and he maybe just needs to give his team a little bit of a rest and rotate some players.”
It’s a piece of lazy, ‘soundbite’ analysis from the pundit, and makes no attempt to understand the situation behind the scenes at Elland Road. Yorkshire Evening Post’s chief football writer Graham Smyth, who has watched every Leeds game this season, has called it ‘utterly ridiculous’ and pointed to the fact that before the international break, Bamford put in a man of the match display despite suffering with a hip injury which has now cleared up.
Smyth, himself, gave Bamford a strong mark in his player ratings for the Sheffield United game, saying he ‘led the line well, linked up play well’.
And on the subject of leaving Bamford out, Smyth told NationalWorld: “It's utterly ridiculous.
"Bamford played through a hip problem against Fulham, scoring a vital goal and setting up the winner. Given he was running through the pain barrier it was a terrific performance.
"The international break allowed him to recover from the knock but he was still building up his fitness, so Marcelo Bielsa didn't expect him to last the full 90 against Sheffield United. While it was a quieter performance against the Blades, Bielsa was content that Bamford still posed a threat throughout.
"This is no case of burnout, just a player returning to full fitness in the midst of what has been a remarkable season."