Sheffield United: Oli McBurnie describes the pain he has been going through lately
and live on Freeview channel 276
Despite being diagnosed with the problem towards the end of September, McBurnie has excelled for Paul Heckingbottom’s side; scoring nine goals in 14 outings before missing yesterday’s win over Cardiff City.
With fellow centre-forward Rhian Brewster ruled-out by a serious hamstring issue, McBurnie’s willingness to push himself through the pain barrier has won the admiration of teammates, coaching staff and supporters alike. Even more impressive is the level of performances the Scotland international has produced, shrugging off the debilitating condition to emerge as one of the most prolific marksmen in the Championship.
“It’s not been very pleasant to be honest,” McBurnie told The Star, when asked to describe how he has not only coped by excelled. “I couldn’t kick the ball very well with my right foot, I couldn’t sprint as fast as normal and it’s not nice when you go up for a header, or into a challenge, and come down a bit awkward.”
“Mind you,” McBurnie continued, “When you look at some of the problems and tough times people are going through in the country at the moment, that puts it into perspective doesn’t it. It’s only pain and you can get through that.”
McBurnie has sometimes been prescribed a course of injections before games to help him not only cope but excel, visiting London before several of United’s recent fixtures before returning to Bramall Lane.
The consultant set to oversee McBurnie’s rehabilitation, before he is placed back under the care of United’s own medical department, is also based in the capital. He travelled there immediately after United’s meeting with Mark Hudson’s side, after Heckingbottom asked him to schedule the operation for the World Cup break.
“A few times the boss has asked me ‘Are you okay, are you sure?’ and I’ve always replied that I am,” McBurnie said. “He knows even if I wasn’t that’s what I’d tell him anyway, so long as I feel I can get out there and help the lads. Jack (Lester, United’s head of player development) asked me a while back if I actually had a hernia, because of how I was running in one match. Like I say, it’s just pain at the end of the day, isn’t it? Trust me, though, I don’t look like that during the week.”
Signed from Swansea City in 2019, soon after United were last promoted to the Premier League, McBurnie is now producing some of the best form of his career; something which has prompted Heckingbottom to encourage the club’s board of directors to address his contract situation.
“I’m going down to London for the surgery,” said McBurnie, who could become a free agent at the end of the present campaign. “I’ve never really had surgery before so it will be a first. I’m quite proud of myself, for getting through this. But my biggest motivation has always been to help the boys and then come back firing again.”