Darren: Burke still has a role to play
DARREN Moore has played down the idea that the arrival of Bakary Sako has shunted West Brom winger Oliver Burke out of contention.
Burke, 21, has played just 14 minutes of Championship football so far this season – they came in the opening weekend of the season.
Since, he scored the winner against Luton in the first round of the Carabao Cup and provided the assist for Jonathan Leko’s strike against Mansfield in the following hurdle of the competition.
He didn’t feature for Moore’s first team for the entirety of September.
Despite the lack of minutes, and the signing of experienced winger Sako, head coach Moore emphasised that Burke is still part of his plans.
“We’ve got a squad of players competing in a competitive division. There’s still another 36 league games to go,” Moore said. “It’s a really tough gruelling season ahead and we’ve got a busy period coming up and we’ve still got the FA Cup too.
“When you look at that, it’s still a long way to go and we need to call upon our squad of players. In terms of those two players, they’re in the thick of the squad. I want them fit so if called upon they’re ready.”
Much has been made of the money that Albion dished out to bring Burke to the club from RB Leipzig. The fee of £15 million was among the highest fees paid by the club in its history.
Not that the man himself had anything to do with it.
“It’s a price tag that Oli hasn’t put on himself. It’s where the game is at at the moment,” Moore reasoned. “He’s a wonderful player, a good man, we’re working hard together. He’ll be the first to say there are parts of his game starting to improve and long may that continue. Oli Burke has got a bright future ahead of him, and there’s lots of work to be done.
“There is lots of education to be done, because he is still so young, he’s learning a lot. It’s good to see signs of improvement which is great to see.”