STEVE McClaren has praised the impact made by Patrick Bamford.
Derby County’s head coach has been impressed by the 20-year-old forward’s work rate as well as his strike rate.
Bamford took his tally for the season to 24 with goals against Ipswich Town and Charlton Athletic in the past week.
He has scored seven during his loan spell from Chelsea to add to his 17 while on loan at League One club MK Dons in the first half of the season.
The England Under-21 international has caught the eye.
“Patrick came as a striker and that’s where he wanted to play but we’ve played him on the right as one of the three strikers and given him licence to roam, get in the box and score goals,” said McClaren.
“He’s a player, and a goalscorer, but what has impressed me is his work rate, his discipline and the work he does for the team.
“It’s like we always say to him, his feedback is about if he was at Chelsea, not here, so we demand a lot from him. At the moment, he’s delivering.”
Bamford is muscling in with some top-class company when it comes to number of goals scored this season.
Only five players in the top four divisions of English football have scored more than Bamford.
Two play for Premier League leaders Liverpool – Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge.
Suarez has 29 and Sturridge 25, in all competitions.
Leeds United’s Ross McCormack has hit 28, as has Peterborough United’s Britt Assombalonga, and Burnley’s Danny Ings is on 25.
McClaren says Bamford has a striker’s instinct.
“He’s got that sense of a striker where the ball seems to fall at his feet and he puts it in the net,” said the head coach.