In August, Oliver Burke ignored the lure of English football and moved to Germany instead, becoming Scotland’s most expensive footballer in the process.
The 19-year-old made a surprise £13m move to newly promoted Bundesliga side RB Leipzig who have already been labelled the most hated club in Germany but that doesn’t bother him. Burke, who began his career at Nottingham Forest, is too busy adjusting to the new role expected of him at Leipzig.
Arsenal, Liverpool, both Manchester clubs, Chelsea and Tottenham looked at Burke. Even Bayern Munich were interested but the Scotsman ignored them all and chose RB Leipzig. In October he said: “I was going to visit Tottenham, but I said no because Leipzig showed enough care and attention to the little details. For a young man I don’t want to go somewhere that is a big club and be thinking am I going to play? Am I going to progress? Or are they just going to stick me out on loan, which happens a lot at English clubs. You can only look at Chelsea, and see the amount of talent they have, but they’re all on loan, not getting used.” He’s spot on there. Plenty of talented youngsters are currently being loaned out at various English clubs but if they made the bold move like Burke, they could be playing first team football on a weekly basis rather than making the odd substitute appearance.
Defending has become part of Burke’s game since moving to Leipzig and while he already realises how different it was to his role at Forest, he is relishing the new challenge and the chance to improve himself. Working for the team rather than concentrating solely on individual progress and learning to press are some of the new aspects to Burke’s game. When he was at Forest, Burke had the freedom to stay wide and stay attacking so his defensive game was virtually non-existent. This is not the case at Leipzig but he is willing to learn. He knew coming to Leipzig would be a new experience and he has taken it in his stride.
Before his move to Leipzig, he had been quite the attacking force at Nottingham Forest, scoring four goals in five Championship games. Twenty minutes after making his debut from the bench against Borussia Dortmund, Burke set up Naby Keita for the club’s first Bundesliga victory. Two weeks later, on his full debut against Cologne, it took Burke just five minutes to get on the Leipzig scoresheet for the first time. Leipzig are currently second in the Bundesliga, just two points behind leaders Bayern Munich after six wins in their first nine games. They are unbeaten so far this season (along with Bayern Munich and Hoffenheim) and seem to be flourishing at the top tier of German football with the youngest squad in the Bundesliga, average age 23. Oliver Burke’s international career is also progressing well and he has been named in the Scotland squad to face England on Friday the 11th which gives him with the perfect opportunity to show The Three Lions what they’re missing.