Stephen Bradley on Graham Burke: 'He is maturing every week and he'll only get better'

Sat, May 12 2018

Burke scored on his debut for the Hoops in Dundalk and hasn't looked back since. Credit: Michael P Ryan (ETPhotos)

Stephen Bradley hailed new Ireland call-up Graham Burke after his second-half header rescued a point for Shamrock Rovers against Waterford at Tallaght Stadium.

24-year-old Burke was named in Martin O'Neill's provisional squad to face Celtic, France and the United States later this month.

The former Aston Villa striker was at the forefront of a second-half revival after Gavan Holohan had sent the Blues in at half time with a lead their play fully merited.

The goal was laid on a plate for him, however, by half-time substitute Daniel Carr, who stood up a cross from the left for the Dubliner to nod home off the post.

It was Burke's tenth goal of the season – and his eighth in Tallaght - and Bradley was fully praise for who he considers to be the best player in the league this season.

He's the first League of Ireland player to be called up to the senior international squad since Daryl Horgan and Andy Boyle were called up for the World Cup qualifier in Austria in November 2016.

“It's a great achievement and full-deserved,” said Bradley.

“I think he's been the best player in the league this year so far. He's added goals to his game and, if you're a player who can create and score, you're a dangerous player – that's what he is right now.

“He's maturing every week and he'll only get better. This call-up is fantastic for him.”

Ireland will face Celtic in Glasgow in Scott Brown's testimonial on Sunday, May 20th – less than 24 hours after Rovers are down to face Sligo Rovers at the Showgrounds.

Despite the logistics, Bradley is confident he and O'Neill will work out a way to accommodate both camps and allow Burke to maximise his time in the training camp.

“I had a good conversation with Martin and we'll have another one during the week. It was excellent.I obviously told Martin I want him to go and be around that Ireland set-up.

“Martin wants him to play for us so it was a very easy conversation. We have to work out the logistics and the details, but he'll be fine.”