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Slavisa Jokanovic assesses Oliver McBurnie’s strengths at Sheffield United

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Oliver McBurnie was trusted with his first league start since the end of August in Sheffield United’s 3-2 win over Barnsley at the weekend.

The Scotsman has started just three times in the Championship this season despite being a proven goalscorer at the level before signing for the Blades from Swansea City. There is fierce competition at Bramall Lane particularly at the top of the pitch leading to the 25-year-old having to wait his turn.

Slavisa Jokanovic was impressed with McBurnie’s contribution at the weekend and gave some reasons as for why when he spoke to the Sheffield Star.

Jokanovic said: “Oli McBurnie played a good game. He showed his characteristics. He can help us defensively too, as well as offensively.”

It goes under the radar just how crucial tall strikers can be at defensive set pieces. With the fine margins so prominent in the Championship limiting the amount of goals you concede from set pieces can be the difference between finishing in the top six and falling just short.

This skill gives McBurnie a leg up in comparison to the likes of David McGoldrick and Lys Mousset who he is competing with up top. The Blades have not been as solid defensively as they would like even after their upturn in form following the first international break.

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McBurnie would probably rather take the plaudits for his actions in the final third than his defensive one but praise from his manager has not been forthcoming this season. The Scotsman was a key player in 2019/20 under Chris Wilder when United finished ninth in the Premier League and will want to erase the memory of the 2020/21 season with contributions on the pitch.

The Blades may look to trade a few players in the January transfer window but as long as McBurnie can continue to step up while he is called upon the 25-year-old will gain Jokanovic’s trust. Time will tell if he can earn a regular spot in the starting XI.


Passionate Football League obsessive and long-suffering Charlton Athletic supporter.

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Article title: Slavisa Jokanovic assesses Oliver McBurnie’s strengths at Sheffield United

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