The 20 year old West Ham United defender Reece Burke joined Wigan Athletic last week on a season long loan. The 6 ft 2 1⁄2 in Burke is essentially a central defender but can also play right back.
Latics manager Gary Caldwell clearly has a high opinion of Burke, commenting that:
“As soon as we were made aware of Reece’s availability, we worked hard to get him here as we knew there was interest from a number of Championship clubs. He’s about to turn 20 and the experience he has already is impressive, having played in the Premier League for West Ham and also his successful spell with Bradford last season.
The fact West Ham have signed him up to a four-year-deal tells you how highly they rate him and we are pleased that they believe the best place for him to develop now is with us here at Wigan Athletic. He brings good quality on the ball, but most importantly he’s a solid defender who can deal with big crowds and the league environment, as he proved at Bradford.”
Reece Burke was born in Newham and joined West Ham when he was nine years old. He has represented England at under 18, under 19 and under 20 levels. He made his senior debut for the Hammers in January 2014, in an FA Cup match at Nottingham Forest. His next appearance came the following August in a League Cup tie at home to Sheffield United. He had to wait until April 2015 to make his Premier League debut in a goalless draw at Queens Park Rangers. This season he played for the Hammers in their ill-fated Europa League match up with Astra Giurgiu at the London Stadium.
Last season Burke was loaned out to Bradford City, where he made a major impact, winning the Player of the Year award.
In order to learn more about Burke’s time at Bradford we contacted Bantams’ fan Stuart Black through Twitter (@blackmeister).
Here’s over to Stuart:
We made a poor start to last season. Late player recruitment had damaged our summer plans, caused by the protracted and ultimately failed takeover of Bradford City by Gianni Paladini. The alarm bells were ringing amongst the fans after a weak pre-season, a poor start to the League and being dumped out of the Capital One Cup by York City.
Reece made his debut in the Yorkshire Derby away at Barnsley on 25th August 2015 where City drew 0-0 gaining us only our second point of the season. From then on he played in 34 fixtures at Centre half and was named as our Player of the season.
Reece settled in well next to experienced Rory McArdle and as the season progressed and as our performances improved he certainly gained confidence.
He has a fantastic coolness about him on the ball that not many centre halves have and on many occasions he would take the ball forward skilfully beating opponents reminding us of a Bobby Moore/ Rio Ferdinand type. The last player I can remember being so cool in possession from that position for Bradford was the late Dean Richards who ended up at Spurs. His modern day comparison would be John Stones.
He is fairly quick and athletic but strong for his age. With further improvement in his heading and tackling ability he will be playing Premier League football within 1-2 years without a doubt.
It was widely suggested by City fans that we will one day see Reece Burke in an England Shirt as a full international as he has all the ability in the world to do so. Let’s hope his career continues to blossom at Wigan and he becomes as much of a favourite with your fans as he is endeared by ours.