Micah Richards has been singing the praises of Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford, and thinks he is not far off a call-up to the England squad this season.

Not many were backing Bamford to hit the sort of form he is demonstrating at the moment but he has continued to prove doubters wrong this term.

With 12 goals to his name, he’s joint-sixth in the goals tally this season, five behind the electric Mo Salah on 17.

As he continues to fire Leeds to mid-table following promotion in the summer, there are a lot of calls for consideration in Gareth Southgate’s England squad.

We’ve already seen Kalvin Phillips earn his first England cap and Bamford might not be far away as he’s surely under Southgate’s spotlight at the moment.

He’s the third-highest English goalscorer in the league, behind Harry Kane and Dominic Calvert-Lewin and level with the internationally-retired Jamie Vardy.

It’s a debate that is only going to intensify as the European Championships draw ever nearer, and the Sky Sports studio discussed the question of who Southgate should pick in attack this weekend.

“I’m taking Bamford, I have to play Bamford,” said Richards on Sunday.

“I think he’s been exceptional, different, left-footed, can drop deep, score goals, playing in a team that’s just come up.”

Richards was then asked, “So you’d take him ahead of Ollie Watkins? Dominic Calvert-Lewin?”

“It’s difficult,” replied Richards. “I just think he offers something different; the way he plays, the way he makes runs.”

Richards makes a good case for Bamford here, not pointing to his goals instead of the others but what else he offers.

Bamford has managed to become far more efficient with the runs he makes, somehow still managing to get behind defences even when they play deep like Wolves.

This isn’t to say that Calvert-Lewin and Watkins can’t do this, but Richards’ argument is spot on.

There aren’t any left-footed forwards in the England squad so it would be a welcome change to what is the norm in the camp.