Chelsea's Patrick Bamford Lays Down a Marker in Pre-Season Rout

Garry Hayes@@garryhayesFeatured ColumnistJuly 17, 2014

ADAMS PARK, WYCOMBE—Let's not get too carried away. It was just 45 minutes in a pre-season friendly and against lower-league opposition.

That said, Patrick Bamford's performance against Wycombe Wanderers on Wednesday was such that it seems he has arrived as a Chelsea player.

Chelsea fielded a youthful side against the League 2 Chairboys, kick-starting their preparations for the new season at Adams Park.

A 5-0 victory would have pleased manager Jose Mourinho, with John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic and Izzy Brown (2) all finding themselves on the scoresheet.

What would have impressed Mourinho most, however, was the display of lone striker Bamford.

There has long been a tendency to over-hype youngsters who make an impression early in their careers and Bamford has much more to do if he is to prove himself at the highest level, yet the signs are encouraging.

The former Nottingham Forest frontman featured in the opening half against Wycombe, being replaced by 16-year-old Dominic Solanke at the interval.

Indeed, Chelsea featuring the two youngsters allowed for an interesting comparison to be made.

Solanke looked just as dangerous as his teammate whenever Chelsea attacked the Wycombe back line, but it was Bamford's clinical finishing that set him apart.

There's no doubt Solanke will add that to his game given his exceptional abilities. With more experience, he will prove quite the player when he reaches his late teens.

Bamford, though, looks ready now.

His loan spells with MK Dons and Derby County have served him well and now he has the look of a player eager to make the step up for his parent club.

It was Bamford who opened the scoring at Adams Park on 20 minutes, latching on to Nathan Ake's cross to calmly guide the ball into the bottom corner.

A sublime effort.

The goal was all about technique, something even some front men at this summer's World Cup found lacking.

As the ball arrived, Bamford cut across his marker to give himself a yard of space before shooting first time.

"He knows where the goal is," said the co-commentator on Chelsea TV. Yes, he does.

With the arrival of Diego Costa from Atletico Madrid, Mourinho continued reshaping his attacking options by selling Demba Ba to Besiktas this week.

It leaves Costa, Fernando Torres and Romelu Lukaku as Chelsea's senior strikers and the latter may well be following Ba through the exit door if he isn't willing to accept a supporting role at Stamford Bridge.

There is an argument to suggest Lukaku shouldn't have to, especially after two seasons on loan with West Bromwich Albion and Everton, respectively.

But does Lukaku have enough to prove to his manager he should be picked over Costa or Torres? Right now, he doesn't—not when he's facing up against players who have won World Cups, the Champions League and domestic league titles.

If Lukaku wants to be a first choice, he needs to be patient, only he is a player in a hurry.

Bamford on the other hand, isn't. He is at a different stage of his career that suits Mourinho's plans.

He will accept being third choice, appearing from the bench and in cup matches. He'll play that supporting role that is so vital to any squad's dynamic.

Most of all, he won't give his manager a headache in the process.

Against Wycombe, he showed he has the mentality to be a Chelsea player.

It was just 45 minutes in a pre-season friendly and against lower-league opposition. Yes, but the pressure was on Bamford's shoulders to show his manager he is capable of scoring goals in a Chelsea shirt.

Of which he did.

Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @garryhayes


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