Sheffield United: Selfless Oli McBurnie continues to put team first after fan reaction against QPR

It is a measure of how hard he works for the team that, despite his goalless drought extending to 19 games, Oli McBurnie was substituted to a standing ovation from Sheffield United’s supporters against QPR in midweek.

Wednesday, 6th April 2022, 3:30 pm

Unitedites, for the most part, can recognise when a player is putting it in for the cause and the roars of encouragement that greeted his every press, challenge and clearance suggested that they can see that from their No.9 at the minute.

Many may also have been responding to the ridiculous boos that greeted McBurnie’s introduction from the bench in his last appearance, before the international break against his old club Barnsley.

The striker, to his credit, played against QPR despite vomiting throughout the day, having previously stuck his hand up and volunteered to play at far from full fitness last month.

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McBurnie has also suffered with Covid-19 and a subsequent bout of tonsillitis this season, limiting him to just seven starts.

“It's not been ideal for me,” he admitted after the QPR victory, which saw United go back into the play-off places with six games of the season remaining.

“Between injuries and illnesses and stuff it's been frustrating, but it was good to get back out there and help the boys.

Oli McBurnie of Sheffield United with Rob Dickie of QPR: Andrew Yates / Sportimage

“I'm not 100 per cent, but I give the boys and the gaffer everything for the win and thankfully we did that.”

McBurnie’s return from a thigh issue that ruled him out against Stoke at the weekend was particularly timely, given his status as the only fit and available senior striker at the club.

Having started the season with six, a mixture of injury and departures left McBurnie as United’s last man standing before he was replaced by teenager Daniel Jebbison late on.

“We've gone from having about 27 strikers to one or two, so of course it's added responsibility,” McBurnie, who last scored back in September in the EFL Cup against Southampton and is yet to hit the target in league action this season, added.

“But that's why you've been brought to the club, to do these things. I wouldn’t say it's pressure but it's just a bit more responsibility that you're willing to take on your shoulders.”

“Listen, I'd love a goal,” he added. “But if you said I didn't score another goal to the end of the season and we get promoted, I'd snap your hand off.

“It's about the boys winning and they are doing that. I'll always go out there to try and score goals but at the minute the three points are more important.

“If a goal comes it comes, I'm not stressing too much about it. I think that's the worst thing you can do as a striker.

“We've all had spells where we don't score and spells where we do and I try and go into each game thinking the same way.

“I appreciate the fans have been good with me. I came in with a price tag and they expect a lot. Sometimes that I might not have lived up to what they expected but they've stuck by me and I'll give them everything, just like I give my boys and the team everything as well.

“The longer they stick with us, the more help it is for us.”