Alex Neil’s charm offensive convinced Patrick Bamford to swap Chelsea for Norwich City
- Credit: Archant
Patrick Bamford admitted Alex Neil's refusal to take no for an answer is why Norwich City won the race for the Chelsea loan striker.
Bamford rejected Neil's advances in the summer after the Canaries had inflicted a painful Wembley play-off final defeat on the striker, who was a major part of Middlesbrough's run to the Championship showpiece. The 22-year-old opted for a loan spell at Crystal Palace, which swiftly turned sour, but Neil's charm offensive tipped the balance for Bamford's latest Stamford Bridge exit.
'I met with him in the summer and there was a possibility but I didn't take up that option. Since then I have spoken to him on the phone numerous times and he was quite positive about the club, so he sold it to me well,' said Bamford. 'I think the fact I knew him and his interest was there became a big, big thing for me this time around. It gives you confidence if you know a manager wants you. It is better than going to a club where you are not sure if you are just making up the numbers.
'Also I had watched them a lot since the start of the season and how they were playing and I felt it would fit my style and that they are a team who would create chances. I think in the main they have been playing good football. Since the gaffer came in they have changed the style quite a bit. You know they are a football side and they are attractive to watch.'
Bamford concedes joining a club mired in a relegation battle is a first in his young career.
'I am excited. It can only help better me as a player,' he said. 'I haven't had to experience being involved in a battle to stay up so it is another learning curve. All I can do is play my best for Norwich and hopefully help to keep them up. Last year at Middlesbrough I learnt quite a bit about playing for the team and not just myself. It changed the way I looked at things and hopefully that can help me in this situation.
'I'll play anywhere the manager asks me to. I think every striker here at Norwich offers something a little bit different. I have assets that they probably don't have and vice versa. There are certainly things I can learn from them because they are a few years older than me and have that experience.'
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Bamford watched his new team mates toil against Tottenham in midweek but the striker insists it is games like Saturday's trip to Aston Villa that will shape their destiny.
'You have to try and win or at least take as many points as you can from the teams around you and the other games are bonuses,' he said. 'If you pick up a win against Tottenham that is a bonus. I was sat in the stand and Tottenham were very good. They were the best team I have seen since the start of this season. I remember Everton were good when Palace went to their place, but they were very-drilled.
'Yes, in the back of your head you know it's a big game but you have to take it in your stride. We have to try and take the pressure off. For both clubs it is huge. They need to win and it is the same for us. We are at the stage of the season where every point is crucial.
'It is a massive game. I am ready to play straight away. We'll see what happens, but I feel like I am ready.'