5 things you should know about Scotland midfielder Oliver Burke

The Nottingham Forest youngster is a prodigious talent. Picture: Getty

The Nottingham Forest youngster is a prodigious talent. Picture: Getty

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Everything you need to know about the surprise inclusion in the Scotland squad to face Denmark.

The 18-year-old Forest midfielder joins other uncapped hopefuls Kieran Tierney, Jamie Murphy and Liam Cooper for the match at Hampden.

He’s been linked with EPL clubs

Top flight interest in the young talent persuaded Nottingham Forest to tie him down on a new long-term deal. He’s now contracted with the English Championship side until the summer of 2021 and is sure to net a healthy fee if he doesn’t help get them back into the top flight first. It’s a sign of maturity in a young player not to have his head turned by bigger clubs and concentrate on his football. Although, in fairness, Aston Villa were the EPL side credited with the biggest interest, so it’s possible Burke was scared into committing his future at Forest.

He’s been likened to Gareth Bale

If you saw Burke away from the pitch you’d think he was either a centre back or striker. He’s easily over six feet in height with a set of broad shoulders unusual for someone so young. In actual fact he’s a right winger who’s biggest strengths are his pace and skill on the football. Due to this rare combination of size and technique, some have likened him to the Read Madrid star. While those comparisons are obviously generous, Burke is also capable of striking the ball with real force, though he’s not quite as adept at free-kicks as the Welshman.

In the rough and tumble world of the English Championship, Burke has proven himself to be an effective target for diagonal balls against shorter full-backs. There are numerous strings to his bow, which is why he’s so highly thought of.

He’s born and bred in Leicestershire

The call-up is designed to encourage the youngster into believing his international future belongs with the Tartan Army. Burke said in an interview that he chose Scotland at youth level because he felt there would be more opportunities to play. Gordon Strachan has now confirmed this was a wise choice.

The Scotland national team boss will be having a real good look at the player. It would perhaps be controversial if, after these friendlies, he was called up in the squads for the World Cup qualifiers later this year, and even more controversial if he was thrown on in the dying minutes of a game, thereby tying him to the Scotland squad for the rest of his career. However, if he is going to develop into the player some think he will be, this act of gamesmanship will be completely worth it as far as Scotland are concerned.

He’s yet to play for the U21s

Burke has bypassed the highest youth level to go straight into the senior squad from the under-19s. While his rapid ascension has taken many by surprise, he was a real stand-out in recent matches for Scot Gemmill’s squad, and would likely have progressed to the next level were it not for the odd nature of this friendly double-header.

His emergence at Forest pushed out a Scottish international

Once Chris Burke found his route to the starting XI blocked by the emerging young talent, the former Rangers winger moved out on loan to Rotherham.

Oliver Burke doesn’t start every week though he does play some part in most of Forest’s games as the club look to handle his development carefully. He scored his first goal in a 1-1 draw at Cardiff and netted again in a 3-0 win over Bolton a month later.

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