This article is part of Football FanCast’s Off the Bench series, which places in-game managerial decisions and squad selections under FFC’s microscope.
Not for the first time have West Bromwich Albion fans wanted Oliver Burke to finally show what he can do. And not for the first time he majorly disappointed.
His appearance for Scotland in their Euro 2020 qualifier over Cyprus merely proved just how difficult the task ahead might be for Slaven Bilic and co.
Steve Clarke called on the Albion man with 18 minutes to go as the Scots were being backed up against the wall despite holding a 2-1 lead with the home nation dominating spells of the second half.
Cyprus recorded five more shots at goal and also 61% possession, so Burke replaced the ineffective James Forrest – who failed to swing in a single accurate cross – with the manager looking for more of a spark in attack.
However, the 22-year-old – yes, the man once dubbed the next Gareth Bale is still somehow only 22 – struggled to justify his national team placing let alone show his abilities to any potential suitors that may want to sign him in summer.
Or even Baggies boss Slaven Bilic himself.
Per SofaScore, Burke managed just five touches in nearly 20 minutes of action, meaning he touched the ball just under once every four minutes, and for two of those, he even lost possession. The other three times, he failed to win any of his ground duels.
Overall, it was a drastically poor showing from the winger, even more so after his comments in midweek about his future.
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“I’ve been there so long, but then I’ve not actually played many games for them, so you almost feel like you are not part of that team because I’ve been to other clubs and been on loan. I just have to focus on this loan I’m on now and take it all in and hopefully good things come from me going on loan now and getting game time. Hopefully, it puts me in the shop window.”
Well, if that’s his attempt at putting himself in the shop window, then it’s likely to be the doors to the local rubbish tip office rather than Gucci.
If he keeps this level of showing up, Bilic is going to have a monumental task on trying to offload him in the summer – an already troubling problem considering the Albion flop still has two years to run on his current contract.
It seems rather unlikely that he’ll get to add to his one goal in 24 appearances at the Hawthorns.