Patrick Bamford has admitted to rushing himself back too fast from injury to help Leeds United’s relegation battle – and even claimed he knew he was going to get injured before he ruptured his foot at Wolves.
The striker came off the pitch in tears during the first-half of the Whites’ victory at Molineux earlier this month after aggravating a partial rupture of his foot that he had only just recovered from.
The injury means Bamford is now ruled out for most of the rest of the season, with the England international set for six weeks on the treatment table – having already missed 20 top-flight games for Leeds this season due to additional ankle and hamstring setbacks.
“I think I was trying to get through the pain and almost forced myself back a little bit to try and help the team,” said Bamford in an exclusive interview with Sky Sports. “Without wanting to sound big-headed, I knew that I had a big role to play.
“I was eager to get back, but it was one of them where I knew eventually it was going to go and it was just a matter of time, really.
“When I had the partial tear and found out about that, I had the injections and it was building it back up until, really, I was comfortable training and then I eased into matches – I played a little bit in the Villa and Norwich games. But when I came off at half-time [of the Norwich game] I was in a bit of pain, so I knew it wasn’t quite right.
“Going into the Wolves game, if I was honest with myself, I should have said no [to playing]. But then they kept asking me if I wanted to play and I said ‘yes.’
“As soon as I started the warm-up [at Wolves], I knew. There were four actions where it started tearing and then the last one I knew something had happened.”
Leeds will now be hoping Bamford could return for the final few matches of the Premier League season, with the striker in a race against time to get back before the May 22 finish date.
Jesse Marsch’s side are seven points clear of the drop zone in 16th place, although the two teams below them, Watford and Everton, both have games in hand over them.
Bamford, meanwhile, will be hoping to put his nightmare start to 2022 behind him in time to make a real push for a place in England manager Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad, and the 28-year-old is feeling positive despite his latest setback.
“It sounds strange, but sometimes when there’s black and white, it’s almost easier to take,” Bamford said.
“When there’s a grey area, you’re always thinking: ‘I could be back this week, I could be back that week,’ and that’s almost a bit more difficult as you don’t hit the markers that you thought you might.”
Marsch: Bamford could play again this season
Whites boss Marsch revealed the club are “optimistic and hopeful” that Bamford could return for Leeds’ final two matches of the Premier League season.
Should the American’s calculations be correct, the 28-year-old stands a chance of playing in Leeds’ last home game of the season at home to Brighton on May 15, before their final-day trip to relegation rivals Brentford a week later.
Marsch said: “Patrick is an energetic, positive person and I think that’s part of the disappointment – that he was so committed to getting himself playing again and helping the team that when he felt it wasn’t right, it was really difficult for him to handle it.
“But almost the next day [after his six-week diagnosis], he was already positive again and thinking about what we can do to still find a way to get him back healthy and how he can contribute in the season.
“Obviously, he wants to give himself a chance to compete for a spot in the [England] World Cup team. In every way, we want to help him get him back to being at 100 per cent and we believe we can now.
“The six weeks mean I think he can be available for the last two matches. We will have to wait and see how everything goes. He already says he’s walking better, feeling better, pain-free, which he wasn’t for the past four to six months. We’re optimistic and hopeful.”