West Brom put £15m winger Oliver Burke on special training regime

Oliver Burke has been put on a special training regime in order to jolt his Baggies career into life.

Oliver Burke has struggled for minutes at the Baggies. (AMA)
Oliver Burke has struggled for minutes at the Baggies. (AMA)

The £15million winger has only started two league games since he was bought from RB Leipzig more than a year ago and has recently dropped out of the match day squad altogether.

But the 21-year-old has four years left on his five-year contract at The Hawthorns, and head coach Darren Moore is determined to tap into his potential.

Burke has been given a separate programme to the rest of the squad and ordered to do individual work away from training too.

The youngster won't be in tomorrow's squad at Wigan Athletic, having featured for the under-23s tonight.

But Burke scored twice in the 3-0 win over Fulham, suggesting his new regime is already beginning to pay off.

Although there is speculation he could be sold in January, the Baggies are more open to loaning him out than cutting their losses altogether.

“We are committed to him as he is committed to us and we’re working with him,” said Moore. “If you look at Oli’s career, there has been a large gap missing. We have recognised this and we’re working hard with him.

“Oli has got some wonderful attributes that I’ve seen from no other player for a long, long time. That’s in my playing career and coaching career.

“We’ve got to tap into them. We’re working very closely with him on a programme that will hopefully benefit him and the football club for the future.”

Burke burst onto the scene as a teenager at Nottingham Forest before Leipzig bought him for £13m in 2016.

But he struggled for minutes in Germany before Albion spent £15m on him 14 months ago.

He has failed to have an impact at the Baggies, and has scored just one goal so far, the winner in a Carabao Cup match with Luton earlier this season.

When Moore was asked if it was frustrating for Burke, he said: “I would imagine so, but at the same time he understands the work we are putting into him.

“It was not Oli’s decision to put that (£15m) figure on his head.

“People think ‘wow’ when they see figures in the game today. But it’s not the player that sets it. It’s the industry.

“If you want that talent then you have got to pay that money.”

Scouts have been sent to watch Burke feature for Albion’s under-23s this season and there are several clubs circling the youngster because of his lack of minutes.

Albion’s new technical director Luke Dowling admitted the 21-year-old could be loaned out in January, but he hopes it is not necessary.

“If we think a loan might improve him we’ll look at it, but hopefully it won’t come into that because he’s in our matchday squad,” said Dowling.

“If we take the price-tag away, we’re looking at a young player who has started just 19 professional games in his career.

“If we had an academy boy in the first team squad with only 19 starts to his name we wouldn’t be putting the same spotlight on him as we are Oli Burke.

“We need to be patient with him. Darren Moore, Graeme Jones and the coaching staff are getting their points across to him.

“What he needs to do in possession, what he needs to do out of possession.

“Oli’s reacting great to it, in terms of different training techniques, things away from training he needs to work on.

"There’s a player there, of course there is. The club have paid the money so let’s make it work, try and get the best out of him.

“Here’s a young boy who’s a great size and can run. He needs to work on one or two things, but so do some senior players.

“I’d hate for anyone to think he’s being forgotten about. He’s got a different programme to other players now.

“If he continues to do those things, and listens and learns, I’m sure we’ll see some impressive performances from Oliver. He’s still at the start of his career.”

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