Dar­ren: Burke still has a role to play

Birmingham Post - - SPORT -

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.”

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