It is a slightly surreal story and one that 20-year-old
Already out on loan at MK Dons when Mourinho returned to
It was a few weeks before that when Bamford learned that Mourinho was following his progress on loan at Derby much closer than he could have imagined, albeit it through an unlikely source. "Niall from One Direction is a big Derby fan, he came down to the club and I was talking to him," Bamford says.
"Niall said: 'Mourinho knows all about you, he texts me all the time.' I said: 'No he doesn't.' He showed me his phone, and because he was doing his treatment at Chelsea, for his knee injury, he knew all the Chelsea boys and Mourinho. And he had texts from Mourinho whenever I scored, saying 'Bamford again!' That made me smile. That was the first time I knew that Mourinho knew about me."
Bamford, who has scored 25 goals in 52 appearances for MK Dons and Derby this season, got to meet Mourinho face to face in March, when
Bamford smiles when asked how he found Mourinho. "The first thing he said to me was: 'What do you want to do next season?' As quick as I could I said: 'Play for Chelsea.' He said: 'That's good, at least you know what you want. We'll see.'
"From what they've said, ideally I'll be third striker, but you never know really in football. Hopefully I get a good pre-season, especially with the World Cup, because a lot of the big players are going to be away, so it's going to give some of us youngsters the chance to get some game time to try and show him what we can do."
It is easy to imagine Bamford making a favourable impression with Mourinho with or without his boots on. At the family home in
Bamford was privately educated at Nottingham high school, where rugby is the No1 sport and football played "only during break-time". He was bright, so much so that he sat his GCSEs and A levels a year early and had an unconditional scholarship offer from
"I do think I could have done a lot more revision but I always found something else to do and it generally involved football. I ended up with five A*s, three As and two Bs at GCSE. I did French, history, biology, chemistry and general studies at A level. I dropped chemistry after the first year because I thought it was really hard and I ended up with a B at A/
It is remarkable to think Bamford achieved those results despite spending so much of his spare time at Forest, the club he grew up supporting and joined as an eight-year-old. It was a difficult balancing act at times, especially when Forest offered Bamford a scholarship at 16. His father, a lifelong Forest fan, always insisted education came first, prompting talks that led to the club and the school coming to an agreement to combine football and A levels.
"I can't really thank my school enough for that," Bamford says. His football career took off during his second year as a scholar. He made his first-team debut against
It was a transfer that went down badly with some Forest fans. "I got a lot of abuse, especially on
"At Chelsea Jimmy Fraser [the head of youth recruitment] showed me the plans they had for me. Once I had listened to that and I actually believed it - that was the main thing, for me to believe it - I decided Chelsea was where I wanted to be."
Bamford was on an extraordinary high but four days later he received some shocking news. During a stadium tour at
Their sons, Patrick and Michael, had the same sort of relationship and were together the night before Doughty died. "I just couldn't believe it," says Bamford.
In January, when he scored on his Derby debut against Brighton, he dedicated the goal to Doughty, who was also his godfather. "It's weird, because I'm not religious. But before the game I had my head down and I was talking not to God but to Nigel. I said: 'I'm sorry that I came to Derby,' kind of having a little laugh, 'but just help me.' Because I scored, that was why I [pointed to the sky]. I tried it the next game and I scored again, so I thought: 'Bloody hell, he's feeling generous,'" Bamford says, with a little chuckle. "I ended up with five in seven and then it stopped, so I thought: 'He's given up on me now.'"
Bamford talks excitedly about going to Wembley on Saturday and believes Derby have a "great chance" of beating QPR, after which he intends to take a five-day break before returning to
The Spaniard has once again struggled for form this season
2013-14 games played 41 Goals scored 11
The highlight of his season was a
2013-14 games played 35 Goals scored 12
A peripheral figure but popped up with a crucial goal against PSG
2013-14 games played 29 Goals scored 8
Romelu Lukaku Everton, loan
Another impressive season in the
2013-14 games played 38 Goals scored 18
Patrick Bamford Derby County, loan
Greatly impressed during loan
spells at MK Dons and Derby
2013-14 games played 52 Goals scored 25
Main picture: Fabio
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