Sheffield United: Boss makes a bold statement about Oli McBurnie

Oli McBurnie’s latest performance for Sheffield United, which saw him come close to ending his goal drought after being introduced as a second-half substitute against Sunderland, proved the centre-forward can be a force to be reckoned with in the Championship.
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That is the verdict of Paul Heckingbottom, who speaking ahead of tomorrow’s game against Blackburn Rovers, issued another passionate defence of the centre-forward’s ability and attitude.

McBurnie enters the meeting with Jon Dahl Tomasson’s side hoping to find the back of the net for the first time since September last year, having seen injury and illness wreck the past nine months of his career.

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But Heckingbottom, who briefly worked with McBurnie at Barnsley before taking charge at Bramall Lane, remains utterly convinced that a subtle change of approach will reap dividends for the 26-year-old.

“We want him between the goal posts, because that’s where he’s going to score,” the United manager told The Star. “I know Oli and I know he likes to run about and drift into different positions at times.

Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom is convinced about Oli McBurnie's ability: Lexy Ilsley / SportimageSheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom is convinced about Oli McBurnie's ability: Lexy Ilsley / Sportimage
Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom is convinced about Oli McBurnie's ability: Lexy Ilsley / Sportimage

“But we want him between the posts and it was good to see him getting into that area more.”

Previously of Swansea City, McBurnie’s impressive cameo during the 2-1 win over Alex Neil’s side saw him draw an eye-catching save from Anthony Patterson after earlier warming the visiting goalkeeper’s gloves with another good attempt.

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Ultimately, however, it will be McBurnie’s ability to put the ball in the back of the net which rebuilds his reputation among a section of United’s support.

Oli McBurnie worked with Paul Heckingbottom at Barnsley earlier in their careers: Simon Bellis / SportimageOli McBurnie worked with Paul Heckingbottom at Barnsley earlier in their careers: Simon Bellis / Sportimage
Oli McBurnie worked with Paul Heckingbottom at Barnsley earlier in their careers: Simon Bellis / Sportimage

“I thought it was a great effort from Oli Mac,” said Heckingbottom. “You know he’s always going to bring that.”