Sheffield United striker will enter Saturday's showdown at West Bromwich Albion with the manager's full support
Sheffield United centre-forward Oli McBurnie has been told he still retains manager Chris Wilder’s full support despite enduring a frustrating start to the new Premier League season.
McBurnie enters Saturday’s match at West Bromwich Albion searching for his first goal in open play since July, after missing a gilt-edged opportunity to equaliser during last weekend’s defeat by West Ham.
Although McBurnie netted a vital penalty as Scotland overcame Serbia to reach next summer’s European Championships earlier this month, the former Swansea City striker has also faced criticism on the international stage.
But Wilder remains full-square behind the 24-year-old, who cost around £20m when he left the Liberty Stadium 16 months ago following United’s promotion from the Championship.
“I signed Oli, I believe in Oli and I believe in all the players,” Wilder said, as his side prepares to try and secure its first win of the new campaign at The Hawthorns. “It’s been difficult for all of our strikers, as you can imagine, because we are not going to be having a chance every five minutes or 15 or 16 a game like we had in the division below.
“Oli will be judged over the course of the season.”
“That lad (McBurnie) puts a serious shift in every time he sets foot on the pitch," Wilder added. "He doesn’t hide, he keeps putting himself in the right positions. That, for me, speaks volumes about his character and the type of person he is.”
United travel to the Midlands at the foot of the table, having drawn one and lost eight of their nine outings so far. Although Lys Mousset is expected to be included in the squad which faces West Brom - Slaven Bilic’s team are 19th - the French marksman will almost certainly be named on the bench after confirming his recovery from foot surgery.
“Oli is a young player and he’s learning at this level,” Wilder said. “If you look at some of the options we’ve got - him, Lys and Rhian (Brewster) - then I think we’re well set for the future because they’re all young players.”