Sheffield United striker Oli McBurnie reveals how Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk left him feeling 'like a little girl'
Oli McBurnie, the Sheffield United striker, has revealed the moment he knew he needed to hit the gym and bulk up - as he bounced off Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk!
McBurnie has played twice against the man widely considered to be the best defender in the world, in both United's games against the Premier League champions-elect this season.
United were good value for a point in the home game at Bramall Lane, until a mistake from Dean Henderson gifted Gini Wijnaldum the winner, while an early goal for the hosts at Anfield paved the way for a 2-0 win.
And the game left a lasting impression on McBurnie for other reasons, too. Speaking to the Keeping the Ball on the Ground podcast, McBurnie said: "The Premier League is so different to the Championship. There are so many mistakes in the Championship, defenders there are stupid. But not in the Premier League.
"It took me a few months to get up to speed. I had to do gym for the first time in my life!
"I bounced off van Dijk and realised I needed to do a bit of bench press. He had everything and I felt like a little girl against him.
"I'm skinnier than a lot of defenders so when the ball goes up in the air, I give them a nudge in the air and that's always worked, at any level.
"I tried it with van Dijk. He was off-balance, and I still bounced straight off him. I thought: 'I'll have to go and play off Joel Matip here instead!'."