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!

By Danny Hall
Friday, 24th April 2020, 12:00 pm

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.

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"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!'."

Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool and Oli McBurnie of Sheffield Utd - Simon Bellis/Sportimage

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Oliver McBurnie of Sheffield United and Virgil Van Dijk of Liverpool go to head the ball: James Wilson/Sportimage

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