Leeds United forward Patrick Bamford has revealed he is looking forward to playing in the Johan Cruyff Arena when the club face Ajax in a pre-season friendly.
The Whites will visit Amsterdam to take on the Eredivisie giants on August 4 and as it stands, the game will be their final friendly before the 2021/22 Premier League campaign begins.
Bamford has been in training since the start of pre-season having missed out on England’s Euro 2020 squad and is now looking forward to playing matches again.
He told LUTV: “I had two weeks doing nothing. After that, I stepped it up week by week with the gym and running.
Click to play
Tap to play
The video will auto-play soon8Cancel
“We obviously do murderball which is a good level of fitness, but it’s not the same as playing 90 minutes in a game.
“I feel like there’s nothing that can really replace that, so it’s important to get a few games under your belt before the season starts.
“It’s important because in the Premier League you’re playing against arguably the best teams in the world. I am looking [forward] to playing in Ajax’s stadium.”
The 27-year-old has echoed a sentiment recently shared by team-mate Tyler Roberts in admitting this pre-season has been tougher than it was in previous years.
Bamford said: “It’s getting tough[er] every year. It has been hard, but it’s been good.
We want your views, Leeds fans. You can become even more involved with our Leeds Live Whites coverage by signing up to unlock a host of features, such as discussing the comments and taking part in special Q&AS where you can speak directly to reporters about the latest at Elland Road.
Click here to get started.
“What we did the first year with Marcelo (Bielsa), things have now grown on top of that so rather than just be a standard pre-season, we push ourselves to get better.
“Normally you can come into pre-season and be a little bit off it, and by the end of pre-season, you’ll be ready.
“Here you have to do a lot in the off-season to make sure you can start at the base you need to here, which is also important for reducing injuries.
“By the end of it, we’ll all be flying.”
Bamford emerged as an outside contender for Gareth Southgate’s England squad after wasting no time finding his feet in the Premier League.
There were question marks over the former Middlesbrough man going into last season, with many doubtful he could make the step up from the Championship to the top flight.
However, he silenced critics in style with 17 goals in 38 appearances and is now hoping to help Leeds impress once again despite increased expectations.
He said: “I feel good, I’m relaxed, to be honest. You have to improve each year as a team and individually as well.
“It goes hand-in-hand, we’ve got to push on and improve from where we were last year. The second season is sometimes harder because people know what you’re about.
Do you want an exclusive pre-season Leeds United preview – both in your inbox and through your letterbox? Head over here to find out more and secure your copy.
“Even though Leeds are a big club, nobody really expected us to do what we did. So, now we’ve done it, the expectations will be higher.”
Leeds begin their Premier League campaign on August 14 with a trip to Old Trafford and Manchester United.