How Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder dealt with Oli McBurnie following derby incident
Sheffield United have spoken with Oli McBurnie after the former Swansea City centre-forward was reprimanded by the Football Association for appearing to make an offensive gesture towards Cardiff supporters during last weekend’s South Wales derby.
McBurnie had travelled to watch his old team in action against their arch-rivals after helping United beat West Ham 48 hours earlier.
Chris Wilder, who paid £20m to sign McBurnie last summer, confirmed he had “no problems whatsoever” with the 23-year-old’s decision to join City supporters in the stands.
But after pictures emerged of him supposedly goading fans in the home section of the stadium, the FA wrote a letter to the player “reminding him of his responsibilities” as a professional player.
“Yes, I’ve spoken to Oli,” Wilder, the United manager, said. “We received a letter from the FA, speaking about Oli’s future conduct which is right I believe.
“I can relate to it. There were times when I’d come to watch United when I was manager of other clubs. I’ve spoken with Oli but I’ve got no problems with him going to watch them.
“Obviously there’s a connection, with him going down there at a young age, and taking his family with the connections he has made.”
Wilder, a lifelong United follower, made frequent visits to Bramall Lane during his spells in charge of Alfreton, Halifax, Oxford and Northampton before being appointed in 2016.
McBurnie retains strong ties with the Liberty Stadium after moving there as a teenager.
Wilder likened his situation to those of Steelphalt Academy graduates Harry Maguire and Kyle Walker, who remain familiar figures on the terraces at United despite now representing Manchester United and Manchester City respectively.
After scoring the only goal of the game against David Moyes’ side, McBurnie, United’s record signing, hopes to start this weekend’s Premier League fixture at Arsenal.
“He obviously got plenty (of connections) down there,” Wilder said. “He didn’t go down there in camouflage or in disguise.
“He obviously has a responsibility, he’s got to represent himself a bit better and he understands that. Going to watch his team, I’m okay with that.”