By Richard Parks
Paul Heckingbottom has revealed that he is a huge admirer of Barnsley striker Oli McBurnie and that “he’s done what I expected” during a fruitful loan spell.
The Leeds manager acclaimed McBurnie, 21, before his current side face his former one in Saturday’s Yorkshire derby at Elland Road.
Heckingbottom tried to sign the Swansea City player last summer and was successful at his second attempt in January, shortly before quitting for United.
McBurnie has made a huge impression at Oakwell, scoring eight goals in 13 matches, which has come as no surprise to Heckingbottom.
“He’s done what I expected him to do,” said the manager at his media briefing on Thursday, as quoted by BBC Radio Leeds correspondent Adam Pope. “People know I think he’s a good and he’s proved it.”
PH on Barnsley loanee striker Ollie McBurnie: “He’s done what I expected him to do. People know I think he’s a good and he’s proved it.” #lufc
— Adam Pope (@apopey) April 19, 2018
Leeds have been strongly linked with signing McBurnie this summer after he reportedly snubbed the offer of a new contract at Swansea, where his current deal expires in the summer of 2019.
The Sun claim the prolific Premier League striker has already agreed to return to his hometown club Leeds and that the deal will go through in June.
Football Insider verdict:
Heckingbottom’s judgement in the Leeds hotseat is certainly open to question, but he was spot on about McBurnie, realising his immense potential long before he started banging in the goals. What a signing McBurnie would be for Leeds. It is testament to his talent that Swansea are keen to keep the rising star, who has been in electric form since dropping down to the Championship in the winter window. Versatile, mobile and powerful, the two-times Scotland international would add a much-needed new dimension to a Leeds front line that has been so powderpuff in the second half of the campaign. He has been used predominantly on the left side of the Barnsley attack, but he can also operate on the right or as the line-leader. Little wonder Heckingbottom wants to McBurnie again, but will he still be around as manager to see him in a white shirt?