Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa has described Patrick Bamford as one of English football’s best strikers.
Bamford ended speculation linking him with a possible move to Tottenham on Thursday by signing a new five-year contract at Elland Road.
The 27-year-old, whose previous four-year deal was set to expire next summer, had been a reported target for Spurs due to the uncertainty over England skipper Harry Kane’s future.
Bielsa, speaking hours before Leeds announced Bamford had committed himself to the club until 2026, said: “Bamford is a very important player for us and one of the best strikers that English football has.”
Bamford was the second-highest scoring Englishman in the Premier League last season with 17 goals, behind Kane, who scored 23.
Leeds will bid to kickstart their new campaign with victory at home against Rafael Benitez’s Everton on Saturday.
Expectation among Whites fans following last season’s ninth-placed finish was dampened by their 5-1 opening-day defeat at Manchester United.
Bielsa, typically, said he took full responsibility for the manner of his side’s defeat.
“The manager isn’t good if he tells you what is going to happen in the game,” he said.
“He also isn’t good because he uses resources to incorporate the knowledge so that the things that you don’t want to happen happen.
“He is only good if the process to avoid what hurts a team is effective, so that’s why I explained to the players that I feel absolutely responsible for the situations that happened in the game against Man United.”
The Argentinian said his biggest disappointment about his side’s defeat at Old Trafford was letting the fans down.
“We feel like the expectations and the hopes that the fans had for this game, we feel like we have defrauded them and if there is something that hurts a lot it is to disappoint, to not give what is expected of us,” he said.
Kalvin Phillips was a unused substitute last Sunday after Bielsa deemed he was not fully up to speed following his England exploits at Euro 2020.
But the Leeds talisman could return against Everton, who gave Benitez a dream start as their manager by beating Southampton 3-1 at Goodison Park on the opening day.
Bielsa said of the Spaniard: “Sincerely, I can’t remember if we have come up against each other, both of us have been professionals for a long time.
“What has made him successful is he puts together a very compact team, difficult to beat and he always manages to get the maximum out of the players he manages.”
Leeds will be without defender Diego Llorente for at least another week as he recovers from a muscle strain, but Bielsa has no new injury concerns.