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Oli Burke: The low-down on the West Brom wingers' spell in Spain

By Luke Hatfield | West Bromwich Albion | Published:

Oli Burke is currently plying his trade in Spain as he looks to kick start his career after struggling for time on the pitch at Albion - we took a look to see how he was getting on at Alaves.

Oliver Burke is out on loan at Alaves, how has he been getting on? (AMA)

We spoke with Alex Kirkland, from The Spanish Football Podcast, and Alex Fitzpatrick, correspondent for La Liga TV International, to get a proper take on the Albion loanee.

See what he had to say here...

How has Oli Burke taken to Spanish football in your opinion? Is he adapting well?

AK: He's done OK. He was a real unknown quantity when he arrived here, and while it's fair to say he hasn't excelled, he hasn't disappointed either. He's shown flashes of what he's capable of.

AF: When I have seen him he seems to be performing well.

Initially he came into the side as a starting player but Alaves lost both games in which he started, they were tough games, both away from home and against Real Sociedad and Valencia.

Since then he has been on the bench for Alaves and coming on as substitute each game. He seems to be well suited as he is a technical player.

He's played nine times so far, what have those performances been like?

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AK: He's mostly been coming off the bench for the last 20 or 30 minutes of games. He's only started twice.

Probably his best appearance was his most brief - he came off the bench against Mallorca in September with seven minutes to go, had a chance to score himself, and then set up a goal for Joselu, his only assist to date.

AF: Mostly as a bit part player coming off the bench for the final fifteen minutes when the game has been more stretched.

He has definitely shown his quality in the moments that he has been on the pitch but as yet hasn't done enough to get or hold down a starting spot.

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He has demonstrated that he comes alive in and around the box, but is yet to score his first goal. He did however get an assist in the victory over Real Mallorca in his short time on the pitch.

What kind of position is he playing in? Here in the UK he's been used in various positions.

AK: He's been playing out wide in a 4-4-2, sometimes on the right and sometimes on the left.

There's some competition there (Aleix Vidal for example, formerly of Sevilla and Barca) which is why he hasn't always been starting.

AF: He has been used almost exclusively on the right side of midfield in a 4-4-2.

The problem for him is that he has Aleix Vidal playing ahead of him in right midfield, a player of high quality and experience who has played for Barcelona and Sevilla in La Liga for a number of years.

As a result he has been limited to appearances from the bench as has also popped up on the left wing too at times.

Do you think Alaves are seeing enough to warrant him being on loan at the club? and would they consider signing him permanently do you think?

AK: I'd say at this stage a permanent deal is quite unlikely.

He's probably not starting enough games to warrant that or contributing enough in the final third.

But there's still plenty of time for him to make an impact, it's early days.

AF: It is still early days.

As I said above, he has a quality player ahead of him which will make breaking into the team difficult for him.

A permanent signing will depend very much on price and wages, which are much lower in Spain than the UK.

If he is willing to take a pay cut then there is a chance but it very much depends on what fee the club would expect to receive.

It is much more likely that he proves himself here and then gets an opportunity elsewhere in the UK where they are more willing to pay a fee.

Alaves have been fairly inconsistent it seems, why is that do you think?

AK: They had a tough start to the season, going five games without a win after opening day.

They've picked up some important points since then especially the wins over Mallorca, Celta and Valladolid and the draw with Atletico Madrid.

The key to their upturn in form has been Lucas Pérez, formerly of Arsenal - he wasn't playing at the start of the season, but he's scored in seven consecutive games now.

AF: Inconsistent yet consistent with it.

They have been very hard to beat at home yet have a very poor away record, like many teams in the bottom half of La Liga.

As a result it has been very difficult for them to get any consistency. They have 15 points currently but only one of those has come away from home.

Asier Garitano is in charge at Alaves, has he had much to say about him?

AK: Not much! One quote I just found from October: "He's a fast and powerful player who can bring us a lot of things"

You can follow Alex Kirkland here and listen to the Spanish Football Podcast here too. Meanwhile, you can keep track of Alex Fitzpatrick here.

Luke Hatfield

By Luke Hatfield
Digital Sports Journalist - @LHatfield_Star

Digital Sports Journalist based in Wolverhampton working on the Express & Star and Shropshire Star.

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