Bamford a better player now – Karanka

Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka has told the Northern Echo on-loan Chelsea striker Patrick Bamford has improved his game dramatically after a “perfect” season.

Bamford was named Championship player of the year at last weekend’s Football League Awards after scoring 17 league goals during his season at the Riverside Stadium.

Chelsea are now said to be thinking of offering the 21-year-old an improved contract, and Karanka believes the loan spell at Boro has helped in his development.

He said: “He is a better player now than when he first came to the club.

“He has achieved the objective that was there at the beginning of the season for him, for us and for Chelsea.

“I think the season has been perfect for him, and the same is true for Tomas Kalas. He came here from Germany, where he had not played a game. But here he played a lot of matches and improved a lot.

“He is happy and Chelsea are happy – and Patrick is the same. He wasn’t really a kid when he came here because he is 21 and was already a good player, but he has taken his opportunity and has improved every single day.

“At the beginning, maybe he played more for himself. But now he is fighting with the team and now he is a different player. He knows how much he needs to work every single game, and he is doing that. He is a quality player.”

Bamford is a doubt for Boro’s trip to Fulham this weekend, however, after damaging his ankle in their 1-0 win at Norwich last Friday. He has not played a full part in training all week.

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