Paul Heckingbottom’s original striker target was 22 year old Scotsman Oli McBurnie from Swansea City. The since sacked manager brought him in on loan at Barnsley FC in the January window but ended up leaving in early February. Meanwhile, McBurnie scored nine goals in fifteen Championship matches but these goals could not keep the south Yorkshire side afloat. The Leeds born attacker was reportedly ready and wanting to join the Whites having been born in Leeds with some speculation that he is a supporter. He has now signed a new four-year contract from the relegated Welsh side, eliminating speculation of a move to Elland Road.
As mentioned, McBurnie managed to fire home nine goals in fifteen games for Barnsley from January onward, an impressive feat that earned him four Scotland caps following on from the end of the season. Many of these goals demonstrate how well he would fit into the team at Elland Road, and the many qualities he possesses.
His first Barnsley goal was against Sheffield Wednesday, and what a great goal it was. McBurnie originally has the ball forty yards from goal, he plays a one-two around one player before advancing into the space create. He reaches the 18 yard box where he comes up against a couple of defenders, he swiftly skips the ball through them and then slips the ball across the goalkeeper and into the far corner with the inside of his left boot while under pressure from the in-coming full-back behind him. Should you see the goal for yourself you will see how McBurnie creates space and a fantastic opportunity from scratch with some excellent and confident dribbling, matched by the finish.
McBurnie’s goal away at St Andrew’s against Birmingham showed his excellent finishing ability in a difficult position. The 22 year old is fed the ball from the right hand side as he finds himself eight yards from goal at the near corner of the six yard box from the right side of the pitch. McBurnie strikes the ball on the volley, spinning on his left foot and brilliantly finds the far left corner where no goalkeeper could reach. An incredible finish from such a difficult position to receive the ball. A couple of goals of his also how well he moves and positions himself on the attack. His goal second goal against Birmingham follows a cross from the right side once again, heading to the far left side of the box where a Barnsley teammate waits to receive it. At time the same time McBurnie watches on as he continues his central run towards goal, anticipating a cut-back. The ball is headed back across goal and after a short scuffle for the ball with the keeper, he duly finishes.
Another goal that is a great example of simple, but effective movement into space was his goal against Hull City. He plays the ball from the middle of the pitch, on the edge of the ‘D’, out to the right side of the box. He has a couple of seconds to continue his run as he moves straight at goal between two defenders. The cross takes the defender in-front out the game leaving McBurnie plenty of room to head home.
Those are just a few of his capabilities shown in goals last season. He has previously played on either wing, though mainly on the left. McBurnie has played on the left wing eleven times, scoring seven, and on the right once, also scoring, which shows his great scoring ability coming inside from the wing. His records as an attacker are astounding, from his time in the Premier League 2 youth division you can tell how creative as well as clinical he is in the final third with 29 goals in 32 games with six assists with the Swansea youth side.
Leeds United have certainly missed out on a great young striker following a new four-year deal at the Swans, with a loan move to Leeds also unlikely.