Oliver Burke responded to criticism of his attitude on and off the pitch at the Toulon Tournament by stating that he lets his football do his talking.
The West Brom star has been a key element of the country’s progression to the semi-final at the competition in France where Scotland come up against England on Wednesday evening.
Burke, who is captaining the team, has provided memorable moments, notching a famous winner over France and an incredible solo goal against South Korea as Scotland topped their group.
However, the 21-year-old came under scrutiny in one newspaper for his “bizarre behaviour”, which included refusing to speak to the assembled Scottish press in Toulon and being detached from his team-mates with his headphones in.
In an interview with the Scottish FA, Burke thoughtfully responded to the criticism.
“In any dressing room you’ll have every type of person and I think that’s important,” he said. You need a mix, whether it’s the livelier boys or the ones that get their head down and go about their business quietly. Personally, I like to do my talking on the park for the most part.
“We’re in each other’s company a lot and it’s a good laugh but, ahead of training and games, we all have that focus. Everyone has their own approach or habits. I know I like to get in the zone, maybe stick on my headphones and listen to music. It helps me concentrate and go over what we’ve talked about in the team meetings, so I can visualise what’s ahead. That’s just me. There’s probably not one ‘right or wrong’ way to go about it.”
Burke has shown incredible physical attributes in the tournament so far, powering past opponents with ease with his strength and pace. However, he has cut a frustrated figure at times on the pitch with questions marks about his body language.
He told the SFA: “I think I’m just competitive and I demand a lot from myself. So I get frustrated if something hasn’t come off for me or if a game is going against it. I like to think I channel it in the right way and do my best for the team.”
The player is now focused on pulling on the Scotland jersey against as Scotland face England for a place in the final.
He said. “I’m always proud to pull on the shirt and I always will be, whether it’s been for the senior team or the Under-21s. Just as it would mean a lot for us to give a good account of ourselves against England and, hopefully, reach the final. That’s the only thing on my mind right now.”