Patrick Bamford strengthened his case for an England call-up ahead of the European Championship by scoring his 13th goal of the season in Leeds’ 3-0 win over struggling Southampton in the Premier League on Tuesday.
Bamford squeezed a low, angled shot into the corner from the edge of the area in the 47th minute to put Leeds ahead and move level with Harry Kane and Dominic Calvert-Lewin as the leading English scorers this campaign.
Only Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah and Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes have scored more.
Left back Stuart Dallas provided an outside-of-the-foot finish at the end of a breakaway in the 78th for Leeds’ second goal and Brazilian winger Raphinha wrapped up the victory with a curling free kick from 20 meters as Southampton’s winless run extended to eight games.
The margin of victory flattered Leeds, according to its manager, Marcelo Bielsa.
“Throughout the game, it was difficult to establish differences between the two teams,” Bielsa said through a translator.
“When the games are so close, the team that scores first gets the advantage. It is not definitive but has weight.”
Southampton’s winless streak, which has included a 9-0 loss at Manchester United, has plunged Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side toward the relegation zone. It was briefly the league leader in November.
“First half, good,” Hasenhuttl said, “second half, disaster. We gave up in the second half, and that is not what I like.”
Southampton is in 14th place, eight points clear of third-to-last Fulham, which has found some good form in recent weeks in its bid to escape relegation.
Leeds climbed above Wolverhampton and Arsenal into 10th place in an impressive first season back in the Premier League. Bamford has been one of the team’s shining lights as he starts to dispel his reputation as a wasteful finisher that he picked up mostly in stints in the second division.
The 27-year-old striker has played for England’s youth teams but never for the country’s senior team.