Oliver Burke got his first Sheffield United start in the Premier League last night as he was given the nod by Chris Wilder in the 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa.
The former Nottingham Forest man was signed in the summer by Wilder, moving to Bramall Lane as part of the deal that saw Callum Robinson head the other way to West Brom.
Like many players who’ve not quite hit the heights expected, Burke’s signing was met with a bit of an underwhelming reaction from most fans. Moves to Celtic, Leipzig, and West Brom, seemingly showing a pattern for Burke not living up to the hype.
But after a decent enough cameo at Burnley in midweek and being given the backing of Wilder last night, has Burke showed us all a glimpse of what might be to come this season? On his Villa Park showing, he’s certainly not done himself any sort of harm.
Pace and power, mixed with a dose of quality
Without even delving into any sort of statistics, it was clear to every watching fan just what Burke will bring to the team. His power, running off the ball and ability to work the channels to create an option for midfielders is something that will be useful for United this term.
Of course, it’s easy to sit here and make a judgement based off one PL game. It would also be silly to assume that we will get that performance every single week. But the signs were there.
His throughball for Chris Basham to win the penalty was the obvious highlight but his workrate, too, as he sprinted from defender to defender to try and close from the front also caught the eye.
Yes, he didn’t muster much in terms of goalscoring opportunities but this was a game where we played 80 minutes with ten men. On another day, with David McGoldrick in behind, Burke may have caused even more problems.
Overall, it was an impressive enough PL debut for the forward. If it’s a sign of things to come, then Chris Wilder may well have pulled off a transfer masterstroke.