Kevin Nolan comments on West Ham’s ‘unbelievable’ Reece Burke

The young defender made his full Premier League debut for the Hammers on Saturday.

18-year-old Burke put in an incredible display in the heart of the Hammers back-line against QPR, and Kevin Nolan has praised him as ‘unbelievable’ in an interview with the official West Ham website.

Attacking midfielder Nolan said: “[He was] unbelievable. You couldn’t ask for a better debut from him, it was absolutely fantastic. Normally young players get their home debuts before they are tested away, but he’s kept one of the best English strikers this year [Charlie Austin] quiet.

“I’m very pleased for him, it’s a brilliant start and this is the beginning for him. He’s set his standards now and he’s got to keep them there for now until the end of the season.”

Burke was part of the defence which kept a clean sheet against QPR, and although that was down in part to a missed penalty and the goalkeeping heroics of Adrian, the youngster put in a better performance than his senior centre-back partner James Collins.

He won four tackles, three aerial duels and completed an incredible 20 clearances. His ball-playing skills did leave a lot to be desired, with just a 28% passing accuracy from 14 passes, although he was wise to clear the ball long rather than attempting to turn playmaker considering the continuous pressure on him from the QPR forwards.

It was certainly a display of much promise, and one that arguably deserves to be followed up in the coming weeks with continuous displays in the Premier League.

West Ham have nothing to play for, and head coach Sam Allardyce would be wise to use this time to great effect, and give Burke a run in the first-team to aid his development into the top class centre-back it looks like he will become.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch