Millwall manager Gary Rowett has revealed just how long-term a transfer target Oli Burke had been after he finally landed the Scottish international last week.
The 24-year-old has signed on loan from Sheffield United and made his debut as a substitute in Saturday’s 1-0 loss at Blackpool.
Rowett told the South London Press: “I’d probably say at my last four clubs I’ve tried to bring him in. His agent Craig [Mather], I feel I know him really well because I’ve spoken to him that many times.
“We felt he would suit my philosophy and the way I want to play. He brings incredible pace and acceleration. He’s actually a really good footballer – technically as well. The reason why we’ve got him this time is because he’s not quite found those ingredients to get that consistency at clubs.
“There are certain things that have gone against him such as managerial changes and different philosophies. When you come in under such a big price tag that brings its own pressure.
“This is good timing. He’s still a young lad. Because we’ve wanted to sign him for so long he has got that confidence that we know all about him – we know how he needs to play and how we need to try and get the best out of him. We can do all that but Oli knows he then needs to do the rest. You’ve got to make it happen, make that next step in your career a positive one – we’ll do all we can to make sure it is.
“I’m really excited to work with him. At times we need to invigorate players because that’s the market we’re in. But you saw little bits on Saturday – in a difficult game where we didn’t perform well enough – how bright he was and how keen he was to do well.
“I’ve got no doubts he’s going to be a terrific signing for us.
“I told him: ‘We’ll give you a platform that suits your style of play’. If we can get more out of him than in the last little period, he is going to be a great little addition to what we’re trying to do.
“We’ve been crying out at times for that explosive pace that can get us up the pitch. Along with Jed [Wallace], when he is fit, and Benik [Afobe] we have got some really good forward options.
“It might give us a little opportunity to try one or two things out, as well. This division is all about the strength of your forwards, at times, and as we’ve seen in recent weeks it has been difficult to attack games as much as we’d like because of the injuries we’ve had.
“He comes with a freshness about him. It will give everyone a boost.”
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