Oli McBurnie has paid tribute to Wilfried Bony after becoming the first player since the Ivory Coast striker to hit 20 goals in a season for Swansea City.
McBurnie’s brace in the Swans’ 4-3 victory over Rotherham on Good Friday took his tally to 21 for the season.
The last player at the club to reach that mark was Bony, back in 2014, during his first spell at the Liberty Stadium before his move to Manchester City, his less successful return to Swansea and then subsequent loan to Qatari club Al-Arabi.
“I learned a lot from him when he was here,” said McBurnie. “He scored a lot of goals and was excellent for this club and he’s a good person to share that statistic with.
“I just want to score as many goals as I can every time I go out on the pitch. The two goals against Rotherham were nice but it was also good to get the three points.”
McBurnie has reached the 20-goal mark in an impressive first full season for the Swans, during which he has also suffered illness and injury.
The 22-year-old has also become a first choice pick for Scotland this season. But, much like his pal Daniel James, the big question is whether the club will hold on to him this summer or decide to sell.
He failed to make much of an impact in the rare opportunities he was given last season in the Premier League, but most of his admirers are likely to put that down to playing in a struggling team rather than an inability to be effective at the top level.
Prior to Bony hitting 20 goals, Michu did the same for Swansea the season before – also in the Premier League – and manager Graham Potter underlined that the ultimate goal for McBurnie should be to prove he, too, can crack it in the top division.
“His challenge is to keep improving because those guys before him did it in the Premier League, at the highest level,” said Potter of McBurnie’s landmark.
“Oli has a way to go, and I am sure he would say the same, to be in that company.
“But he is in the early stages of his career, there have been challenges along the way but he has stuck in there.
“The team have helped him as well, and it’s nice for him to get through that 20-goal barrier.”
“His goal-scoring record in the Championship is really, really high,” he said.
“If you think at the start of the season there was a lot of talk about us needing a 20-goal striker, so I am pleased for him because essentially it was about us as a team being able to find something from somewhere.
“It was an opportunity we wanted to give Oli. I am really pleased he has taken it, it hasn’t been straightforward for him in his first full season but we did not expect it to be straightforward.
“He has played a number of positions, a variety of roles. He has been the number nine or more withdrawn which helps him. He can finish, that’s for sure and if he gets chances he can score.”
Rotherham suffered a hammer blow to their bid to avoid Championship relegation as Swansea twice came from behind to claim a dramatic win.
Paul Warne’s Millers led 2-1 at half-time thanks to goals from Michael Ihiekwe and Matt Crooks, either side of McBurnie’s 20th effort of the season.
A thrilling contest saw Swansea turn the tables through Barrie McKay, a controversial George Byers effort, and McBurnie’s second, before Rotherham’s Will Vaulks struck again for the visitors.