Chelsea youngster Patrick Bamford has been a hotly followed prospect since his stellar Championship Player Of The Year performance at Middlesborough last season. Now on loan at Norwich, having signed a contract extension at his West London parent club, we at I Am caught up with Bamford to discuss life in Norwich, his prospects for a Chelsea return and the importance of the loan system for young players.
A sunny day in Norwich saw Patrick stroll through markets and along pebbled roads as he modeled the new adidas Solar Gold X15 Primeknit football boots. A country boy at heart with a London home, Patrick explained to us what it’s like for a 22-year-old loanee in the Premier League
What is Norwich life like in comparison to London?
It’s a lot different to be honest. A lot different to London but not too far away from what I’m used to ‘tho, growing up in the country for the most of my life. It feels like going back to that really, so it’s a nice break away from the city.
As a player who has had quite a few loans, are you used to the feeling of walking into a new club as a loanee and throwing yourself into a different set-up?
Yeah I think so, I think one of the boys said something about that the other day. We were talking about the initiation song and he said ‘you must be used to this’. So yeah I’m used to it, I think I’ve had seven loans, albeit three of them were at MK Dons but it’s something you have to get used to as part of your development.
As much as you have spent so much time out on loan, it must come as a source of pride for you that after your fantastic spell at Middleborough, where you won Championship Player Of The Year, and your return to Chelsea, you’ve been on Premier League loans.
I want to obviously play at the highest level I can for as long as I can. My ambition is to stay in the Premier League and push and win as many things as I can. That phase of my development obviously started at Crystal Palace and unfortunately that didn’t go too well but now it’s my aim to try and help Norwich stay in the league and I can learn a lot of things from that.
How do you see Norwich’s season going? Now that you’ve had some time to settle in. How does the team feel?
I think that after the Aston Villa game we had a massive sit-down to discuss how we need to change the approach and if we wanted to stay together and stay in the league then we would have to do certain things. I think since then there has been better unity. Obviously we were gutted by the loss against Leicester in the last minute but we’re all together and we’re going to work our hardest to keep us up.
Is there any chance that teams closer to the foot of the table are perhaps taking comfort from the success of Leicester City at the top of the league?
Yeah, I think if you look last year Leicester were in a worse position than Norwich are. It’s funny how things change in football and we’ll have to see how things go. It was only a year ago. The first thing of course is to make sure we stay in the league.
Looking at your parent club Chelsea, they had a fairly lost period with their strikers post Didier Drogba, of course now they have Diego Costa. Do you still see that opportunity for you to break into the first team and claim that role for yourself?
Yeah, when I first signed for Chelsea I said I wanted to stay there for my whole career and obviously that might not end up being my decision, but I had the same mentality when I signed my extension last summer so I plan to develop and grow and hopefully earn the role.
Does it help to see players such as Ruben Loftus-Cheek bide their time and break into the first team?
I think Ruben has been very patient and I think he will, maybe not this season but next season, definitely get more playing time. It shows that there’s different ways to do it. He stayed around and came through the U-21’s to the first team and there are others like me who have gone out on loan to do it through a different route. I think the end aim is still to end up playing for Chelsea, it’s just different paths.
When people see a young player who spends a lot of time out on loan, there is a common assumption that the player is just being given playing time to keep them happy, but if you look at players such as yourself, Benik Afobe or even Deli Alli, the craft can be learnt during these loan spells. Do you take a lot from these spells away?
You learn something different from every manager because everyone has a different style and then playing men’s football makes a big difference from the boys’ game you’re playing previously. I think the major difference and effect tho is just playing games. It does matter to a certain extent what level you play at but most important is getting game time, that’s how you develop. You can practice as much as you want in training but it’s different when you play in a game. Game time is crucial.
Looking at your International career, you’ve played at every level apart from the first-team. Is that still something that drives you?
It’s a massive deal for me. I think that is probably one of the biggest achievements an English player can get, representing their country. From there you go on to winning trophies, which of course we haven’t been great at. First of all for me it’s making a name for myself in the premier League and then once you do that, well if you look at Deli Alli, he’s done that and he’s been rewarded by getting the call-up.
Does the success of a player like Deli Alli drive you forward? Seeing a player get a good consistent run to prove himself and taking it with such ferocity?
Well I know Deli very well, I’m still very good friends with him from my time at MK Dons and I speak to him quite often. I think that’s all it is tho, getting a good run of games and the right opportunity. There are a lot of young players in the same position at Chelsea and Manchester City that if they did get their chance they would take it. Deli’s done very well and been fortunate that the manager at Tottenham has put his trust in him and he’s repaid him no end.
Looking at you as a player, a striker. Who inspired you growing up?
It used to be Robin Van Persie, I used to watch a lot of what he did, especially at MK Dons. Karl Robinson and I would watch Van Persie and Torres a bit and Suarez. Just watch their movement and stuff. I did that quite a lot with the manager. See what I could pick out from their game to help me. People like Lewandowski and Cavani.
Speaking on your parent club Chelsea and their tough season so far. Does the prospect of an overhaul at the club in the new season give you hope of breaking into the first-team?
Yeah I think it will help players like me and a couple other young players who haven’t really been given a look-in. I also think that if they don’t make the Champions League that may force a few players to move on, opening up some positions.
And the loss of John Terry? How significant do you see that being?
It’s going to be huge. He had such a good input in the club, he linked all the players despite the fact that he spoke English and no other languages. He was that tight knot at the club and his leaving shows how Chelsea is changing.
Patrick Bamford wears the new Solar Gold X15 Primeknit. To add chaos to your game, get yours here #X15 #BeTheDifference – adidas.co.uk/football