Sheffield United favourite hails “manager’s dream” who will be vital to Blades’ survival hopes

Striker’s return to squad a big boost to Blades ahead of trip to Spurs
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Sheffield United favourite Carl Asaba has described current Blades striker Oli McBurnie as “a manager’s dream” after identifying the Scottish international as a key man in the Blades’ hopes of surviving in the Premier League this season. McBurnie recently returned to the Blades squad after a spell on the sidelines, ahead of this weekend’s trip to Tottenham Hotspur.

McBurnie looked to make up for lost time with impressive displays against Manchester City and Everton in the Premier League, showing signs of a promising partnership with new signing Cameron Archer as the two combined for Archer’s first goal in United colours in the 2-2 draw with the Toffees at Bramall Lane.

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Archer later made United’s second goal with a curling shot that hit the post and rebounded off Jordan Pickford to bounce into the Everton net and Asaba, who scored 24 goals in 63 starts for the Blades during his player career, described the understanding between Archer and McBurnie as “brilliant”. “They are two players who know their positions and what they can do and recognise what the other can do,” Asaba said on the BBC’s Blades Heaven podcast.

“It was interesting listening to Cameron speak about getting around Oli. He knows Oli has a great touch and can hold the ball up, and he put the emphasis on himself. I know what he’s going to do, what can I do to affect it? Archer is just a livewire, he’s brilliant to watch. He’s really exciting. His movement for the goals was brilliant and his finishing… wow. He is deserving so far of that number 10. Big shoes to fill but you don’t start any better than he has done.”

Archer and McBurnie are expected to resume their partnership this weekend when they travel to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to face Ange Postecoglou’s side. “They are both brilliant players and I’d have loved to play in this team,” Asaba added. “They open up chances and I just think the attributes they have, they complement each other so well.

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“I’ve likened Oli to the glue that keeps everything together. He is a manager’s dream. He does everything. He’s had a bit of stick which I think is unfar because he plays with so many injuries. Last season he had his dislocated finger, which is a nightmare to play with when you’re trying to hold off defenders. In one of the games we saw it pop out again and he carried on. He’s always fighting something.

“He had the hernia which takes the sharpness out of your game, it’s a dull ache every time you strive off. But he battles on and the key for us is keeping him fit. It helps the competition as well. If I could have one selfish wish it’s that we could have Rhian Brewster back fighting for a position as well, without any injury. I do think he is the talent in the squad and once he gets going, I think he’ll just blow the opposition away.”