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Scottish teenager Burke at home with RB Leipzig


Leipzig (Germany) (AFP) – Scotland’s Oliver Burke plans to fly his mum over to Germany to supply a taste of home cooking as he seeks to cement his future at RB Leipzig.

A Scotland international at just 19, the pacy teenage winger was told to forget everything he had learned tactically at Nottingham Forest after RB signed him for a reported 15 million euros (£13 million, $16 million) last August.

Leipzig, backed by energy drinks giants Red Bull, are enjoying a stellar first season in Germany’s top flight after starting with a record 13-match unbeaten run.

But a 3-0 pre-Christmas drubbing against league leaders Bayern Munich set them back and they resume on Saturday after the winter break with the first in a series of tough fixtures, against Eintracht Frankfurt. 

Since signing a five-year contract with Leipzig, second in the Bundesliga table just three points behind Bayern, Burke says he has been on a steep learning curve.

And he said he plans to bring his mum over to help him make the transition.

“The thing I miss most is my mum’s cooking — I am not the best chef,” he told AFP.

“I feel at my strongest when my family are here and I miss them when they’re not.

“It’s brilliant that I can get them over to live with me.”

Burke says he immediately knew that he had made the right decision to leave English football.

“As soon as I stepped through the door here, I knew it was the perfect club for me,” he said.

“The facilities are great and everyone has made me feel welcome.”

– Eager to improve –

But Leipzig coach Ralph Hasenhuettl said the teenager had to start from scratch tactically.

Burke says he has been using his mobile phone to swot up on video analysis alongside German lessons three times a week.

“I’m learning every day on the pitch and watching all the video analysis I can, even on my phone,” he said.

“I’m constantly looking where I can improve.”

Hasenhuettl says the hard work is paying off and Burke’s progress was on display as he scored on Sunday in RB’s 4-0 thrashing of Glasgow Rangers in a friendly.

“We’ve worked hard with ‘Oli’ in the past few weeks, you could see that from the way he played (against Rangers),” said Hasenhuettl.

“He is eager to learn and things are becoming second nature to him.

“He still has a few mistakes in his game to iron out, which could be dangerous for the opposition, but he is an option for us.”

Burke said RB’s stunning start to their first top-flight season did not catch him by surprise, even if he has had to settle for a bit-part role so far, starting just one of his 13 league games to date.

“To be honest, from speaking with the coaches, you could see where they want to be, so I wasn’t surprised (at their strong start),” he said.

“It all happened very quickly under my own eyes and we have adapted really well.

“Now we have to keep going and push on in the second half of the season.”

– ‘Great feeling’ –

Burke says inexperienced Leipzig, whose average age is just 24, must forget the defeat at Bayern as they bid to bridge the three-point gap. 

“Bayern are obviously a very strong team and have a lot more experience than we do, but that game has gone and there’s no point dwelling on it,” said Burke. 

After hosting Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday — Bayern are away to Freiburg on Friday — Leipzig’s tough start to 2017 continues with matches against Hoffenheim and Borussia Dortmund in back-to-back games with all three opponents in the Bundesliga’s top six.

“We should take some confidence from the Rangers game. It’s all about taking three points from each game now,” said Burke, who took his chance against the Scottish team when he netted two minutes from the break in sub-zero temperatures.

“It was my first start at the Red Bull Arena,” he added, “so it was a great feeling to score against Rangers.”

More opportunities may follow for the Scottish teenager because Sweden’s Emil Forsberg was sent off against Bayern and is banned for the next three games.

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