Scotland Under-21 striker Oliver McBurnie insists he is delighted to be turning his back on the glamour of the English Premier League for the cut-throat Championship.
The 21-year-old admits he was not content coming off the Swansea bench in the top-flight after sealing an 11th-hour season-long loan switch to Barnsley.
Swans boss Paul Clement was happy for the forward to remain part of his squad but the Leeds-born player pushed through the temporary switch after realising he needed to get more competitive action under his belt.
McBurnie, who is hoping to feature in tomorrow’s opening Euro 2019 qualifier against the Netherlands in Paisley, said: “A lot of people probably thought that I would just sit back and stay because I was getting five, ten minutes in the Premier League. It was the safe option.
“But I want to be playing every week and I want to test myself in a good standard and playing 90 minutes is the best way to do that.
“I’ve been involved in all three of Swansea’s Premier League games this season, it wasn’t as if I was just sat around not playing. The gaffer was happy for me to stay and the decision was down to me.
“I pulled him about a week ago and said to him I thought it was best for me to be playing every week and he agreed. But he’s told me he sees me as part of his plans. When I told him I wanted to go he said to me that, technically, I would be fine, but physically it was tough. It will be a big test on my body playing Saturday and Tuesday. Going again every week, just playing and then recovering is perfect for me and suits me down to the ground.”
There were no shortage of clubs in the English second tier chasing McBurnie’s signature but the youngster admits Tykes manager Paul Heckingbottom went to great lengths to convince him a switch to Oakwell was the right move.
He added: “There were a few other clubs that wanted me, but Barnsley saw me as their number one target. I got on really well with the gaffer.
“He did a presentation with me about the way they were going to play and how he saw me fitting in. It’s appealing as a player to know that the gaffer wants you that much.
“He’s also publicly said I was his number one target all summer, so that was flattering. I’ve never had a manager do that before. Me, my dad and my agent went up and it was a full presentation. There were clips of me playing, clips of them playing and how he saw me fitting in. I was just really impressed with the whole thing. I knew a few of the lads, too, and everyone had good things to say about them.”
McBurnie’s move to Barnsley hinged on Swansea bringing back Wilfried Bony after Fernando Llorente made a £15 million switch to Tottenham. And McBurnie, pictured, admits he is sad to see Spanish World Cup winner Llorente depart the Liberty stadium. He added: “I’ve learned a lot from him. His English has got a lot better because when he first came he really struggled with it. He’s been there and done it and won every cup that is worth winning.
“He was really good with me. He took me aside and gave me loads of tips and advice to learn from. He was trying at first through interpreters and he would go through things. He took me into a room and went through things with me. I’m delighted for him he got his move to Spurs.”
McBurnie also hopes regular first-team football at Barnsley will bolster his chances of being promoted to Gordon Strachan’s full squad.
He added: “That’s another thing for me. Going out and playing every week on a big stage is going to help me more than playing five or ten minutes every week.
“Playing 90 minutes in the Championship is going to get me closer to getting into the manager’s thoughts.
“We’re all looking forward to this game coming up against Holland. It’s a tough group but anything is possible and we are all really confident.”