This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict‘ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Sheffield United are starting to show signs of recovery after a challenging start to the campaign and were only narrowly beaten on penalties by Premier League Southampton in the cup in mid-week.
Slavisa Jokanovic has settled on a 4-2-3-1 formation to try and get the best out of the players that he has available to him at Sheffield United. The signs are that is working and the likes of Billy Sharp, Rhian Brewster, Morgan Gibbs-White, Ben Osborn and Iliman Ndiaye have shown encouraging signs over the last few weeks in that setup.
Olliver McBurnie as a result has had to bide his time for chances to start for Sheffield United, and the forward has only managed to make two league starts for the Blades so far this campaign.
However, McBurnie netted his first goal of the campaign for the Blades in their 2-2 draw against Southampton in the League Cup on Tuesday night. While he also delivered a better all-around performance despite missing his penalty in the shootout.
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So, with McBurnie having got his season up and running against Southampton, we asked some of our FLW writers whether he should now be handed more regular game time by Jokanovic in the league…
He has certainly put forward a case for more minutes on the pitch, but Slavisa Jokanovic has seen some success operating with a 4-2-3-1 formation, with the system leaving one striker for contention.
At the moment, Billy Sharp seems undroppable. He still possesses the same relentless energy, intelligence and eye for goal that he has displayed throughout his career.
However, McBurnie will be eagerly awaiting any slip ups and proved during the week that he is an excellent forward who can cause havoc in the final third.
McBurnie could also regularly benefit from the service that Morgan Gibbs-White and Conor Hourihane provide, making him an ideal option should Sharp slow down.
Despite putting in a performance that will make Jokanovic think long and hard about his team selection, it is a great problem to have.
Are these 22 Sheffield United stats real or fake?
I think so, yeah. He’s not a bad player, he’s just one that you need to adapt to your style of play as a manager.
I like the way he holds the ball up and I think he is also capable of creating chances for others.
Obviously he mainly thrives off crosses into the box, so in theory he would do well with the likes of Morgan Gibbs-White and Ben Osborn in the side.
You can tell the price tag has weighed heavily on him and the hope will be now that he can kick on.
There is certainly a lot more to come from McBurnie in a Sheffield United shirt.
Absolutely, it is hard to imagine that at 35 Billy Sharp will be able to sustain the rich vein of form he is in currently and when that time comes Ollie McBurnie should be next in line.
The 25-year-old has proved himself at Championship level in the past and was an effective threat for the Blades in the Premier League. It would seem like he has struggled to impress Slavisa Jokanovic since the Serbian’s arrival but over the remaining 38 second tier games McBurnie could have a pivotal part to play.
McBurnie’s tireless work ethic and physical presence make him a handful at second tier level even without contributing in the final third. Sharp is on a hot streak and is linking up excellently with Morgan Gibbs-White at the moment however in time McBurnie should make a starting spot his own.