Since Paul Heckingbottom has taken over the reins at Sheffield United, Oli McBurnie has stepped up his training efforts and has become a significant part of the Blades squad.
After previously experiencing difficult campaigns in front of goal McBurnie would rediscover his shooting boots last term, scoring 13 goals in 38 Championship matches and adding two assists to his name. But the Scottish international did much more than just score goals for the Blades.
His work rate to press the opposition back line, along with Iliman Ndiaye, was an effective tactic United deployed. To add, he would track back and help out the midfield on occasions. And another important aspect of his game is his ability to command the air both defensively and offensively.
The striker’s relationship with Hecky
In August last year, the 27-year-old gave a very telling interview to Yorkshire Live about his relationship with Heckingbottom, detailing: “he’s on my case all the time”.
He added: “Even when there were other managers and Hecky was here as the (under-23s) manager, even when he was working at other clubs, we always kept in contact. He’d be the first to ring me up and hammer me.”
“I remember him pulling me downstairs here (at the training ground) when he was the 23s manager. He always likes to bring up Arsenal at home in the first year (in the Premier League). He says, ‘You were running, you were smashing centre-halves, you were a nightmare for them… and then at the weekend you were s***, you were doing this, you were doing that, you didn’t look like the same player.”
Could Oli McBurnie be the new club captain?
The striker wore the armband in the second half against Chesterfield on Saturday and Ben Osborn believes that McBurnie has the leadership qualities to take on the responsibilities of a captain.
Speaking after the Chesterfield pre-season game, Osborn told SUTV:
“It was good. I think he nominated himself but he’s definitely a leader. Maybe not in the traditional sense but he’s probably got it in him. He’s got a lot of responsibility, especially this season, and he did last season and he stepped up to the plate.
“I think it might even enhance him, to be honest. He’s a big player, a big name, a big character in the dressing room. Why not?”