The recruitment of coach Mark Burton from Manchester City by Stoke City manager Michael O’Neill last summer has placed his club’s top scorer Brown under the tutelage of a man credited with playing a key role in the development of leading young English talents Phil Foden and Jadon Sancho. O’Nelll is convinced the trajectory of Brown, looking to earn his third cap in Tuesday’s Austrian friendly for a nation he qualifies for through his Glaswegian mother, will lead to the English Premier League. In seeking to derive the most from his universally-lauded work-rate, the 23-year-old believes Burton’s guidance can prove as crucial in his footballing growth as he has been for Foden and Sancho.
“He [Burton] still works with players like that which just shows how good he is, and the influence he can have on players,” said Brown. “For me, I can see such a big difference since I started working with him. If you’re willing to put the time in with him, he’ll spend hours and hours with you - whether that’s on the pitch or going through video analysis. My form this season shows how big an impact he’s had on me. I have played in League Two, League One and the Championship and if you had said to me back when I was in League Two [four years ago] that I would be getting double figures in the Champ I probably wouldn’t have believed you. Now that I have done that I have the confidence to think there is no limit really. If I keep working hard then I hope I can get to even higher levels.
“Sometimes I will do extras after training with him, whether it be working on finishing or my touch. Also sometimes, when we are away from the club, he will send me clips with little bits of analysis, just like how this player has got into the position and so on. They are for me to watch so when I am in that position it might trigger something in my mind. One of the main things we have been working on is my movement in the box. So from the start of the season I have been getting a lot more chances compared to last year. And that is from the positions I have been getting into thanks to the little bits of movement we have been working on.”