Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa

Noel Whelan has blasted Patrick Bamford’s former managers for playing the Leeds United striker as a winger early on in his career.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Elland Road ace admits he cannot fathom why the ex-Chelsea youngster would be used anywhere but through the middle.

The 26-year-old has heralded the impact Marcelo Bielsa has had on his development, admitting he is being used solely as a centre-forward for the first time in his career.

Bamford told i News: “I owe a lot to Marcelo because he’s the first manager who has seen me as an out-and-out number nine. Other managers have known that I can do it, but have played me as a second striker or as a right winger.”

Whelan insists that Bamford’s old managers made a mistake with the striker, lauding the Leeds mainstay for his performances at Elland Road.

Whelan told Football Insider: “I don’t know why anyone would play Patrick Bamford anywhere bar through the middle.

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“He’s got the attributes, I don’t see him down the wing taking people on, quite frankly. That’s a bit like putting Jack Harrison or Jack Clarke through the middle, they’re not centre-forwards.

“They can be makeshift and make do with it but it’s not they’re natural position. What he (Bamford) has got is he is playing his natural position and he has improved under Marcelo Bielsa.

“Even though he’s taken a hell of a lot of stick this year, unfairly I believe because people expect him to be something that he’s not, you’ve got to appreciate what he has got and what he does bring to the side. I think what he’s done this season has been incredible.” 

Bamford has missed just one of the Whites’ Championship games this season, starting all but two to date.

He has netted 13 goals in 36 appearances, although only three of those have come in his last 13 outings.

In other Leeds United news, Darren Bent has sent the Whites a blunt message after Gary Neville’s claims.