Eni Aluko claims there’s a “big spot open” in the England squad for a striker like Leeds United star Patrick Bamford to get an opportunity.
Bamford, 27, has been in stunning form at Elland Road this season, scoring 14 goals in 29 Premier League appearances for the Whites.
Only Harry Kane, Bruno Fernandes and Mohamed Salah have scored more top-flight goals in England than Bamford this season, who was beaten to the latest England squad by Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Ollie Watkins.
Both Calvert-Lewin and Watkins scored on Thursday night as England beat San Marino 5-0 in their opening 2022 World Cup qualifier and after the match, ex-England Women forward Aluko said Bamford is still in the mix, as well as Danny Ings.
“We talked a lot about the back-up strikers to Harry Kane. There’s a big spot open,” said Aluko on ITV on Thursday night.
“There was talk about Bamford and Ings but I think as a number nine, you’ve got to take your chances when you play for England and [Watkins] has done that.”
Ex-Arsenal striker Ian Wright also discussed England’s wealth of striker options. He said: “You mentioned like Patrick Bamford there, he’s another one who was unlucky.
“[Watkins] has taken his chance tonight and I’m really pleased for him.”
Blow for Bamford?
Watkins got off the mark for England on his debut against San Marino and even though it was against the worst team in the world in terms of FIFA’s rankings, that still could be seen as a blow for Bamford.
Southgate’s unlikely to pick more than three out-and-out centre-forwards in his final squad for the European Championships in the summer.
Harry Kane is obviously going to be in the squad and Calvert-Lewin is a bit of a no-brainer due to his consistent form at Everton and his goalscoring start to life as an England player.
In our opinion, there’s one spot that could be up for grabs.
Watkins was chosen ahead of Bamford despite scoring fewer times in the Premier League this season.
Whether it’s because of Southgate’s previous affiliation with Villa – he played for the Midlands club between 1995 and 2001 – or because of a potential link up with Jack Grealish in the future, the fact Watkins scored cannot be good news for Bamford.
We want to see Bamford make the squad for the Euros but it’s definitely looking unlikely now.
In other Leeds United news, Southgate reacted to Phillips’ display against San Marino.