It wasn’t that long ago when a section of Sheffield United supporters mocked Oli McBurnie with every touch he had. But since the beginning of last season he has consistently been a top performer in a Blades shirt every time he features.
Saturday was no different as he replaced Vinicius Souza at halftime. The 27-year-old battled as well as he possibly could, but with him and his strike partner Cameron Archer feeding off scraps, it was a tall task for them to drag the team back into the contest.
After the game McBurnie told SUTV:
“There is no point coming out here making excuses, we were just miles off it today and we deserve it, we got beat.
“The performance levels from the boys are nowhere near what we needed to be at today.”
Sheffield United registered a mere ten shots against a relegation rival at home. United’s number nine had four of them, and he eventually found the net in the 97th minute with a guided header from a George Baldock cross, marking his second goal of the season.
Oli McBurnie is a leader
This season feels like deja vu – the Blades put in a poor performance, only a few players come out of it with any credit – McBurnie comes out and has to face the music in interviews.
In pre-season I called for him to be given the captains armband, and he has more than demonstrated that he’s capable of carrying that burden, setting the example that the rest can’t yet meet.
Alarmingly, he’s another player that has to be put on contract watch. If we can’t sign him to an extension then I’ll be seriously concerned about how next season could possibly shape up.
Don’t forget, if we’re relegated Cameron Archer will automatically be sold back to Aston Villa. Daniel Jebbison is nowhere to be seen and is out of contract next summer.
That could possibly leave United with an injury-prone Rhian Brewster, and two youngsters Will Osula and Benie Traore as our only senior attacking options heading into the next campaign.