YOU COULD forgive Chelsea youngster Patrick Bamford for feeling the pressure of his dream move to Stamford Bridge – but he is refusing to let it affect him as he looks to catch Jose Mourinho’s eye while on loan at MK Dons.
Chelsea paid a whopping £1.5million for Bamford in January 2012 after his outstanding displays in the FA Youth Cup for Nottingham Forest, although he made only two senior appearances for his boyhood club.
He then went on loan to MK Dons last season but was hampered by an injury that restricted him to just 14 appearances.
Meanwhile his Chelsea colleagues Romelu Lukaku and Nathaniel Chalobah fired themselves to the fringe of the first team with fine loan spells at West Brom and Watford respectively.
But then he scored four goals in nine games at the end of last season, and Dons boss Karl Robinson made the 19-year-old his number one summer target.
And despite his hefty first transfer fee, the success of his young teammates and the faith shown in him by Robinson, Bamford says the only pressure he feels comes from his own ambition.
“I don’t really feel pressure apart from when I put it on myself. As long as I’m playing well then I’m happy,” said Bamford, who will remain on loan in Milton Keynes until January at least.
“My target before the loan runs out is to get 15 goals. If I can get that amount I’d be very happy. It’s important for me to score and help the team do well. I’ve got a few already and hopefully I can push on and get a few more.
“Obviously with Rom (Lukaku) being a striker I look at how it’s going with him. He wasn’t really starting (at West Brom) but he got lots of goals off the bench.
“With Nathanial, when I moved to Chelsea he was one of my best mates so I kept up with how he was doing and he kept up with how I was doing.
“It would be nice to one day play alongside them (at Chelsea). I think me and Rom could work well together.”
Since Bamford joined the Blues there has been a notable managerial change as Mourinho made his highly anticipated return to the club from Real Madrid.
The regime change has seen an abundance of attacking talent arrive in west London and although Bamford admits it was a difficult decision to leave Forest he is still confident he made the right choice.
“I was surprised by the interest from Chelsea. I didn’t believe it until I had to go and look around at Cobham,” he added.
“I had to leave my family and move away for the first time and leave the team I’d been with since I was seven years old. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to move straight away.
“I discussed it quite a bit when I realised the interest was serious with my agent and my dad and family.
“We decided when you get a chance like this you have to take it because it might not come again. It was definitely the right move.
“Chelsea get in touch quite a bit and after every game to see how I’m doing and check there’s constant development.
“I’d love to get the chance of a first team place at Chelsea and my long-term aim is to be at Chelsea.” Bamford will have the whole season to impress Mourinho after being told he will spend the rest of the year on loan – be that at the Dons or elsewhere.
But he proved he can mix it with Premier League defences when he scored in MK Dons’ Capital One Cup defeat at Sunderland on Tuesday, and he wants to taste more.
“I was really excited about playing Sunderland,” he said. “I was really happy when I found out we had a Premier League club, not just for me but for the team. We- showed how well we could do last year in the FA Cup. It was great for me to have the chance to play against Premier League opposition and prove to myself and to others what I can do.
“We’ve started off well. We have been playing well so the manager is very pleased. I think last season there was a lot of pressure on us to do well. Everyone knew when they came to play MK Dons we were the ones to beat.
“But the pressure’s off a bit now three big teams have come down. Hopefully we can carry on doing well and quietly go about our business.”