England pick Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford for World Cup qualifiers


Patrick Bamford of Leeds United during the Pre-season Friendly match between Ajax and Leeds United at the Johan Cruijff ArenA on August 4, 2021 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

England manager Gareth Southgate has called up Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford for September's World Cup 2022 qualifiers.

It will be the first time Bamford, 27, has been named in the senior squad as they return to action after losing to Italy in the Euro 2020 final. Southgate's side face three games in seven days against Hungary, Andorra and Poland.

They travel to Budapest on September 2, then host Andorra at Wembley three days later before taking on the Poles in Warsaw on September 8.

Liverpool full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold returns to the 25-man squad having missed the European Championships due to injury, while Manchester United midfielder Jesse Lingard is also included.

Southgate believes Bamford has earned his first call-up to the squad. "There was an opportunity for us in the forward area," he said. "We were very pleased with what [Aston Villa striker] Ollie Watkins did at the end of last season.

"Now is an opportunity for Patrick as a No 9 as well. His progress with Leeds has been excellent, very close thing at the end of last season with us [in terms of being selected] and this is a good chance for him to come back in.

"We worked with him at Under-21 level, so we know him anyway. A fabulous moment for him and his family.

"It is a fresh cycle and we would always pick the bulk of the squad from the summer. We are only two games into the season so we were never going to make big changes."

Lingard's United teammate Mason Greenwood does not make the cut, despite having scored two goals in two games for Ole Gunner Solskjaer's side. "He is in our thoughts, I've spoken with him and his club, he is a player we really like," Southgate added. "We are all very conscious that he makes the progression at the right time."

Southgate described the news that Three Lions captain Harry Kane - linked with a move to Manchester City all summer - is to remain at Tottenham Hotspur this summer as good news for England.

He said: "The good thing from our point of view is it looks like everything is resolved and settled club-wise now. He's got a clear focus now and I'm sure he is looking forward to getting out on the pitch." IMG-20210826-171301-734

As for his own future, the 50-year-old coach was asked whether talks had been held over a new contract, with his current deal expiring after the 2022 World Cup.

"We haven't had any time for anything of that nature," he said. "We've been focused on debriefing the tournament and planning for these matches.

"In my head the autumn is about getting the team to Qatar, everything else can wait.

"We've got two critical away games in particular with trips to Budapest and Warsaw. We've got a lot of work to do. People are talking about potentially winning a World Cup, we have to qualify for it first."

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