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One to watch: West Brom’s 21-year-old winger Oliver Burke

Burke
Photo: Getty Images

One to Watch

One to watch: West Brom’s 21-year-old winger Oliver Burke

Introducing The Boot Room’s 2018/19 One to Watch series…

From League One to the Championship to the Bundesliga to the Premier League; Oliver Burke has seen a lot for a 21-year-old.

It has not always been positive. His bright debut season in the Championship was followed by a difficult spell in Germany after RB Leipzig decided to spend over £13 million on the Scottish winger.

Back in England last season, after being bought by West Bromwich Albion for the same price, Burke was caught in another difficult situation – in a terrible team that also afforded him a lack of opportunity.

Play Style

Above all, Burke is an attacker whose game is based around his explosive qualities.

He is outrageously quick off the mark. When given the opportunity to burst into spaces, he can be devastating.

But in that sense, he has proven to be one-dimensional. The 21-year-old is predictable and can often struggle to create openings when presented with any sort of co-ordinated defensive marking approach.

(Photo by Marc Atkins/Offside/Getty Images)

He is yet to translate his explosiveness into tangible attacking benefits other than when played through onto goal – which has proven to be rare in his fledgling career.

There is quality to work with there though – he can be a devastating player when given the opportunity to put his head down and burst through defensive lines.

He must also work on his defensive contribution, where he is often a liability and has been a key factor in his limited minutes in senior football over the last two seasons.

Season Ahead

Tony Pulis summed the winger up frankly in a press conference early last season after the Scottish winger made his debut for West Brom.

“He’s a young lad and he’ll learn. I like his enthusiasm and willingness to run down the side of the pitch and he can score goals,” Pulis said.

To learn, he needs to play. But, he also needs to be realistic about the opportunities he will be afforded this season as West Brom attempt to bounce back into the Premier League.

A testing season awaits.

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