Why Oliver Burke is being tipped to become one of Sheffield United's most influential players

Chris Wilder has admitted it is incumbent on Sheffield United’s players to help get the best out of Oliver Burke, despite acknowledging the Scotland international is disappointed not to have scored more as his team mates attempt to erode the 12 point gap separating them from Premier League safety.

Monday, 11th January 2021, 10:30 pm

Burke enters tomorrow’s game against Newcastle hoping to build on an impressive display during last weekend’s FA Cup win over Bristol Rovers, which saw him claim one goal and help to create another as Wilder’s side secured its first victory of the campaign.

Although the 23-year-old has missed several gilt-edged opportunities since arriving at Bramall Lane in September, most notably against his former club West Bromwich Albion, Wilder also noted United have been guilty of failing to exploit the openings Burke creates for others.

“Centre-forwards, scoring goals always gives them a lift,” Wilder said. “I think Oli’s performances have been right where we would expect him to be. There have been opportunities for him to get more (goals) than he has, and I think Oli will admit that. In fact I know he will.

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Oliver Burke is expected to feature for Sheffield United against Newcastle: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

“But equally, I think we also should have done better from the assists he comes up with, because he stretches the back line of the opposition ever so well.

“Certainly it won’t have done Oli any harm scoring and he’s an important player for us.”

Despite spending the majority of his professional career on the flanks, Burke has been deployed in a central role by Wilder; a position he believes is better suited to the player’s individual skill set. It is a ploy United also used to good effect after signing David McGoldrick on a free transfer following his release by Ipswich Town. A key member of the squad that gained promotion from the Championship two years ago, McGoldrick has gone on to become one of Wilder’s most influential players.

Drawing parallels between the two strikers, Wilder said: “David didn’t get many goals for us last season but he contributed so much else that he was one of the first names on the team sheet. I can see Oli doing something similar, because they both bring a lot to the table.”

Chris Wilder has been impressed by Oliver Burke's contribution since arriving from West Bromwich Albion: Darren Staples/Sportimage

With Oli McBurnie (shoulder) and Lys Mousset (ankle) both doubtful to start the meeting with Steve Bruce’s side, Wilder could partner Burke and McGoldrick together in attack as United look to begin the task of hauling themselves off the foot of the table.

Burke arrived from The Hawthorns as part of a player plus cash deal which saw Callum Robinson move in the opposite direction.

“We all need to score a little more and take advantage of some of the big openings we’ve created,” Wilder said. “Oli brings that pace which, with Lys struggling a bit, I felt we needed.

“Oli brings things to the team that I felt we would benefit from and, for me, I think that was a really good bit of business for us. I mean that with no disrespect to Callum whatsoever, because he’s a brilliant lad. But we needed the things that Oli brings, because there was a lack of them in the squad at that time.”

Oliver Burke score dhis first Sheffield United goal last weekend: Andrew Yates/Sportimage

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