Barnsley: Which Reds striker takes inspiration from Brazilian legend Ronaldo?

Oli McBurnie equalised on his full debut for Barnsley against Sheffield Wednesday
Oli McBurnie equalised on his full debut for Barnsley against Sheffield Wednesday

Striker Oli McBurnie wants to be Barnsley’s very own Ronaldo - and fire the Reds to Championship safety.

The Swansea loan hitman, 21, was inspired by the Brazilian two-time Ballon d’Or winner as a kid.

McBurnie swapped life at the Liberty Stadium for Oakwell in January and he’s banging in the goals for fun – just like double World Cup winner Ronaldo in his prime.

The Scottish marksman, who has scored four goals in as many games, said: “Ronaldo was my idol growing up.

“For me he was the best striker of all time. I just thought he was on another level. As a striker to look up to you can’t get any better than him.

“He made the game look so easy and who wouldn’t be inspired to follow in his footsteps after watching him?

“He scored some great goals and was a great striker.”

The new management regime at the Reds has already rubbed off on an impressionable McBurnie.

A pep talk from No.2 Dimas Texeira, who played with Chelsea boss Antonio Conte and Real Madrid legend Zinedine Zidane whilst at Juventus, has helped McBurnie fire on all cylinders.

Reds head coach Jose Morais was Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho’s right-hand man at Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Chelsea.

And McBurnie has enjoyed soaking up a wealth of knowledge from the experienced duo.

“The other day Dimas was telling a story about being at Juventus and there was Conte and Zidane playing in midfield whilst he was there,” said McBurnie.

“With the experience that Dimas has, when you’ve got someone like that there’s almost an automatic level of respect. Knowing he’s in the dressing room, you kind of step back and you’re in awe of him.

“He’s been there and he’s done it, so the experience is there for us to call upon.

“The new gaffer has inspired us all as well. He believes more than anyone that we can stay up.

“He’s coached around the world in the biggest leagues and that experience is vital.”

McBurnie made 12 appearances for the Swans before swapping their relegation scrap for Barnsley’s battle to avoid the dreaded drop.

The Scottish striker saw a deadline day move to the Reds fall through due to a sloppy paperwork error in the summer.

But the South Yorkshire club got their man at the second time of asking - and he’s been an instant hit ever since.

McBurnie admitted: “When I came to Barnsley there were a few other clubs which I could have gone to.

“But I liked the idea of coming here with the relegation battle and being the person to keep them up.

“If you score a few goals and you stay up then you announce yourself as a hero and that’s what I want to do.

“You always want to make an instant impact at a new club.

“Especially in my situation when it probably should have happened in August and then had to wait until January.

“It’s nice to show the fans what could have been almost and to show them I was worth waiting for.”

McBurnie’s fine form has put him in contention a Scotland call up on Wednesday when new boss Alex McLeish names his squad for friendlies against Costa Rica and Hungary at the end of the month.

McLeish is understood to be a keen admirer of the youngster, who would love to be picked in his first senior squad.

“It would be a dream come true to be picked for Scotland,” he added. “I want to play as many games as I can for Scotland.

“There’s a new manager in now and hopefully he’s looking for some young talent.

“One of the main reasons I went out on loan was because I knew if I scored goals in the Championship then I could get international recognition.

“Growing up all you want to do is make your parents proud and playing international football is one way to do that.”