Noel Whelan has claimed Patrick Bamford is an immensely popular figure in a Leeds United dressing room riding high in the promotion battle.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-United striker explained how his teammates have great appreciation of the striker’s enthusiasm, work rate and great movement.

Bamford was mocked by Reading fans for his errant finishing late in Tuesday’s 1-0 Leeds win at the Madejski Stadium and has also borne the brunt of huge criticism from a significant section of his own supporters this season.

But Whelan is in no doubt about how those who share the same changing room with the number nine feel about him.

“Patrick has listened to a lot of people who want him out of the side and say he’s not good enough,” Whelan told Football Insider. “That’s so unfair. I can see the quality he has and so can his teammates and Marcelo Bielsa.

“The dressing room love him. I go to all of Leeds’ matches and it’s clear why he is starting every game. He brings so much to the team.

“His last three performances have showed his character and how much he wants to play for Leeds. 

“This season, he’s got fitter, stronger and contributes to the team in so many different areas. Yes, his finishing can be improved but you can’t question his work rate or enthusiasm.

“He’s a handful for any defence and, while strikers are judged on goals, he’s in the team on merit.”

Bamford has scored six goals in 18 league matches this season, and his 44 appearances in total for the club have yielded 16 goals.

His efforts this season have been integral to Leeds being second in the Championship with 37 points, five ahead of Fulham in third.

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