Barnsley striker Oli McBurnie has confirmed that Leeds United manager Paul Heckingbottom was on the phone to him just hours after leaving Oakwell for Elland Road last month.
McBurnie, 21, was snapped up by Barnsley on loan from Swansea in the January transfer window, but not long after the Scotland Under-21 international arrived in Yorkshire, Heckingbottom had accepted terms with Leeds.
The centre-forward has been in stunning form since signing for the Tykes, tearing up the Championship with five goals in his last six appearances.
Now, speaking to Sky Sports, McBurnie has admitted was not surprised to see Heckingbottom leave for a big club like Leeds, but he was disappointed to see him go.
“I really got on well with him and he really rated me as a player,” he said. “To be fair, Heckie rang me the day after he took the job at Leeds, just to explain what his thinking was.
“I would never hold that against him. I understand what football is like. It’s a short career and he has his own family and his own reasons for doing that. I was looking forward to working with him but it’s part and parcel of football. It never seems to be easy in my career, but you’ve just got to take it in your stride. There’s nothing you can do to change it.”
Football Insider verdict
If Heckingbottom has a good relationship with McBurnie then he really should be making an effort to sign him for Leeds in the summer. The only problem with that is Victor Orta, who everyone knows likes to look abroad for a bargain rather than sign up proven domestic talent like McBurnie. The Swansea loanee has just been called up to the Scotland senior squad for the first time in his career. He was born in Leeds too so there’s a chance that he would really fancy a move to Elland Road. He’d be perfect to replace Pierre-Michel Lasogga if he doesn’t sign a permanent deal.
In other Leeds United news, Andrea Radrizzani has held a meeting with super-agent Jorge Mendes.