Sheffield United goalscorer Oli McBurnie "upset" not to start win over Swansea City

Oli McBurnie was “upset” not to start against his former club Swansea City, Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom admitted, before watching him step-off the bench to score for the 11th time this season.
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Having been omitted from the squad which faced Wrexham in the FA Cup on Tuesday, as coaching staff attempted to avoid exacerbating his calf injury, McBurnie hoped to start the contest with City after spending four years in south Wales before joining United.

Heckingbottom instead elected to name the Scotland international among his substitutes for a match United won 3-0, later explaining McBurnie’s reaction to missing out on a place in the starting eleven convinced him to introduce the 26-year-old during the closing stages.

Oli McBurnie of Sheffield United celebrates his goal against former club Swansea City: Andrew Yates / SportimageOli McBurnie of Sheffield United celebrates his goal against former club Swansea City: Andrew Yates / Sportimage
Oli McBurnie of Sheffield United celebrates his goal against former club Swansea City: Andrew Yates / Sportimage
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“When Oli saw he wasn’t starting, I could see how upset he was,” Heckingbottom admitted. “In the right way, of course, For me, that signalled he was fit. I know he’s been carrying something so I had to be sure, completely sure, that he was ready. It was up against his old team and he wanted it.”

Second in the Championship table, United maintained their 10 point lead over third placed Middlesbrough thanks to efforts from Sander Berge and Jack Robinson before McBurnie moved ahead of Iliman Ndiaye in the race to become Bramall Lane’s leading goalscorer this term.

But Heckingbottom’s decision to err on the side of caution was vindicated when captain Billy Sharp limped-out of the contest during the closing stages. The ankle problem he sustained will now be assessed ahead of Wednesday’s meeting with Michael Carrick’s side, who visit South Yorkshire on Wednesday.

Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom: Andrew Yates / SportimageSheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom: Andrew Yates / Sportimage
Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom: Andrew Yates / Sportimage

“We have some issues with players at the top end,” said Heckingbottom, who welcomes Daniel Jebbison back from suspension for that fixture. “So it’s really important that we avoid unnecessary risks.”

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Russell Martin, Heckingbottom’s opposite number, described United as the best “game-managers” in the division after watching them thwart City’s efforts to seize control of the fixture early on. Berge was on target for the second time in as many outings, after Jayden Bole, Ndiaye and James McAtee combined before Robinson pounced when Oliver Norwood hit the woodwork. McBurnie touched home from close range when Ben Osborn’s shot was deflected into his path.