Oli McBurnie says Swansea fans would not recognise him if they watched him play for Sheffield United in the Premier League. McBurnie admitted Wilder told him his players had not enjoyed playing against him and felt he was his type of player.
Oli McBurnie said “I have played in every division, from the Conference to the Premier League. In terms of the gap between each division, there is nothing comparable from the Championship to the Premier League. I have 100 per cent had to adapt my game. I feel like if any Swansea fans will have seen me play for Sheffield United they will notice a completely different player. When I was at Swansea I don’t think I ever headed the ball! At Swansea we played a completely different way, it was all possession-based. Everything was out from the back and passing and most of the time I would play more as a midfielder than as a striker. There would be another striker, or a number 10 that would run in behind and I would just come in to feet, whereas now I am playing a lot more as a main number nine with someone off me. It’s a lot more physical and the gaffer wants me to be more aggressive than I was at Swansea, which I quite enjoy as well to be able to do both sides of the game. If there’s ever a game where I need to drop in as a number 10 I feel capable of doing that because that’s the way I used to play at Swansea. I have definitely had to adapt my game. That’s why it took me a while to get into the team and I have definitely had to run more than I did at Swansea. The running averages are about 3km here more than I did at Swansea. That basic stuff of fitting into the way we play took me a couple of months but now I feel I am more than capable of doing that. I actually used to play more like this when I was younger in the lower leagues. Then when I went to Swansea I had to adapt to the way that they played, which was complete football, it was just about playing football. I didn’t really have to head it there. Then I came here and realised that for me to get in the team that’s the way they wanted me to play. I feel like I am physical enough and good enough in the air to come up against any defender in the league. I am confident, I have to feel confident and I know the boys have a lot of confidence in it with me. There’s nothing much really to change. Just go out and give it a go with an open mind and see where we get. We didn’t put goals up last year about where we wanted to finish and we are not doing it this year. We are going with the same attitude, we know it’s going to be tougher this year because we are not the new boys anymore and we have played these teams before. The way we play works and we are not going to change it for anyone. We going to go out there and give it a right good go again.”
He took a while to get going in his new surroundings and to adjust to life in the Premier League. A change of role and style, with the 24-year-old asked to lead the line at Bramall Lane compared to a more attacking role at Swansea, took some getting used to. But we saw the best of McBurnie during Project Restart, when he showed that he was more than capable of causing some of the best defenders in the league problems. And he says Swansea fans would not recognise the Oli McBurnie that left for United in August last year. Oli McBurnie moved to Bramall Lane from the Liberty Stadium at the start of last season in a then club record £18million move. After finding the net 24 times in 44 appearances for the Swans in the 2018-19 season, including scoring in both matches against United, McBurnie had earned his shot at the big time. Ironically, it was his performance and strike in the 1-0 win over his current employers in the January of that season that convinced manager Chris Wilder to make a move for the Scottish international. It’s been a difficult summer personally, with a foot injury seeing McBurnie miss most of pre-season and then playing catch-up on his fitness once the campaign got underway. It’s going to be a busy couple of months for Sheffield United as they prepare for a second season in the Premier League and Yorkshire Live will bring you the very latest. He has not started since the opening day defeat to Wolves but says despite the success of last season, United’s approach will not change. There will be no panicking and no new targets, just following the same blueprint that has so far served them so well.
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