Patrick Bamford has praised Ezgjan Alioski for the positive impact his exuberant character has on the Leeds United changing room.
Alioski has been known among the Leeds faithful for his hot-headed nature and quirky personality and star striker Bamford has opened up on how his demeanour affects the Whites’ team morale.
Both have played a key role in ensuring Leeds sit comfortably in mid-table around the halfway mark of the Premier League season, with Marcelo Bielsa’s side sitting in 12th with 23 points to their name.
Speaking on the official Leeds United podcast (14/01/21), Bamford gave an insight into what the team make of Alioski’s antics, saying: “He’s one of them guys that when he’s on your team, you’re so happy that he’s on your team even though sometimes you look at him and think, ‘what on earth are you doing?’
“But if he was on the opposition team, you’d hate it. He just winds people up. He’s always talking, he’s just annoying. If you’re not his teammate, he’d do your head in.
“He’s brilliant. In your team he’s fantastic, he brings his great energy, he ups the atmosphere and he is good for the team. You just sometimes scratch your head wondering what’s going through his head.”
Main men but distinct differences in form
Bamford and Alioski have both been fixtures in the Leeds starting XI this season with the former an ever-present in the Premier League while the North Macedonia international has played 15 of their 17 games.
However they have had contrasting fortunes with Bamford’s prolific goal scoring run catapulting him to the periphery of the top scorer charts with 10 goals already this season.
Meanwhile Alioski has had a mixed campaign so far, scoring twice in December as Leeds scored five against both Newcastle United and West Brom while also suffering against the likes of Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur as the Whites have felt the wrath of the Premier League’s elite attacking talent.
He has started 10 out of his 12 starts as a left back, a position that is not his most natural despite playing there on numerous occasions in his career.
With his talents best served going forward Alioski thrives on taking the game to the opposition and bursting down the left flank but takes less enjoyment in stopping attackers coming the other way.
That is a dilemma Bielsa might have to think about solving, probably at the end of the season, and in the meantime he will hope Alioski can register his first assist of the season starting against Brighton on Saturday.
Perhaps that will be for Bamford, and the striker will take great joy in seeing his beloved teammate make a telling contribution to the team after his podcast comments.
In other Leeds United news, Bielsa gives big fitness boost ahead of Brighton clash.